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Projected City Jail Population Expected to Drop to 3,300 by 2026

Queens Detention Center decommissioned in 2002. Building will be demolished and redeveloped for borough-based jail (Photo: Queens Post)

Oct. 14, 2019. By Shane O’Brien 

The city has lowered the estimated 2026 jail population yet again and officials say that the lower number could result in smaller borough-based jails.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced Monday that the city’s jail population is expected to be about 3,300 by 2026.

New York currently has a jail population of just over 7,000 and the city had previously forecast that 4,000 people would be incarcerated by 2026. In 2017, the city anticipated that it would be detaining 5,000 inmates in 2026, at a time when the city’s jail population was around 9,400.

The mayor’s announcement comes just four days before the City Council votes on his borough-based jail plan. The plan involves closing Rikers Island and replacing it with four modern and equal-sized borough-based jails in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens by 2026.

The jail in Queens would be built in Kew Gardens and replace the decommissioned Queens House of Detention at 126-02 82nd Ave. Residents, like in other boroughs, have expressed concern about the scale of the jails.

The most recent plans called for a four jails capable of housing 1,000 inmates, but that was based on the city’s estimate jail population being at 4,000.

The Mayor and Johnson said that the new figure will serve as the baseline for the borough-based jail plan. Each facility is expected to have average daily population of fewer than 1,000 inmates.

Original plans for the Kew Gardens jail prior to latest city revisions (City Planning Commission). The new building is planned where the Queens Detention Complex is currently located

The City Council is set to vote on the mayor’s plan on Thursday as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The City Council Vote is essentially the last stage of the ULURP process, since the plan was passed by the City Planning Commission by a 9-3 vote.

If the city’s 2026 forecast pans out, New York would have the lowest jail population in over a century. The city would also have the smallest jail population of any major city in the United States.

De Blasio said that the revised estimate is a step toward ending mass incarceration in New York City.

“Mass incarceration did not begin in New York City, but it will end here,” de Blasio said. “With the lowest rate of incarceration of any major city, we are proving you don’t need to arrest your way to safety. New York is a telling a different story, one where we can keep fathers at home and kids in schools and still be the safest big city in America.”

Johnson said that the city would continue to reform the justice system and attempt to bring the city’s jail population down even further.

“To now reach 3,300 [inmates] is an extraordinary achievement, and the culmination of years of hard work to move away from the failed policies of mass incarceration. But we will not rest. We will keep fighting to bring this number down even further. New York City should be a model of progressive criminal justice reform nationwide,” Johnson said.

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Our crime rate is already going up because the Mayor is freeing Rikers criminals.
I especially enjoy the gang warfare.


Doesn’t Rikers close in 2026? So, you’re posting from the future…give us the lottery numbers.

Disgruntled KG Resident

Putting a 27 story building in that location is a disgrace and spits in the faces of the community residents.


So the progressives have a magic machine that will keep people from committing crimes when the recession comes?…How is it even possible to predict future crimes??…When the next recession hits we will have over 2,000 murders and thousands of non fatal shootings….where are we going to put all these people for just gun crimes alone? what about all the stabbings, rapes and assaults??…why do these dirtbag politicians always make these policies go into affect after they are out of office?? Its kinda like congress approving Obamacare and then giving themselves an exemption from it back in 2010…what a disgrace!

Look it up

Huh- Recessions don’t cause murders..Are you talking of the cities murder rate of the 80’s? Most of that was attributed to the crack trade and epidemic..Murder rates were up everywhere even places that weren’t in recession. You may want to get yourself informed on the topic of “predicting future crime”. Just shooting off your mouth with random claims isn’t discussion, its nothing but a tirade as defined by the Webster Dictionary. Demographic trends are a very significant contributor and factor in criminology. Most violent crimes—about 65 percent—were committed by and against adults 25 and older, and adults ages 25 through 34 are most often victims of violent crime. 18 to 24 faced a higher risk of violent crime arrest or victimization than any other age group. Accurate projections of statistical “spikes in certain crimes” were projected correctly by using this method (baby booms plus 18).


crack cocaine only came out in 1984…what about the crime waves in the 1960’s and 1970’s that were during recessions?? there was no crack cocaine then…your statistical tirade does not hold water….but you will certainly understand when the next recession hits…even if you are somehow right how will eliminating jails help us when the next drug epidemic causes crime to spike and we have 20,000+ inmates like in the early 1990’s??

Look it up

Confused – Your posting handle couldn’t be anymore suiting to the content of your posts. “Statistical tirade” as defined by somebody calling themselves confused.

Dartmouth Street

@confused- What is your obsession with crime only during recessions? I showed this to my wife and she thought it was hilarious.


Progressives have a magical machine for predicting crime? What about your machine that gave us this beauty “we will have over 2,000 murders and thousands of non fatal shootings “? Let us guess, you’re a graduate of Trump University.

yeah because reality

Year Murders
1989 1905
1990 2245
1991 2154
1992 1995
This is the murder rate during a bad economy in NYC(source: wikipedia)

Look it up

Crack epidemic in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The crack epidemic in the United States was a surge of crack cocaine use in major cities across the United States between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. This resulted in a number of social consequences, such as increasing crime and violence in American inner city neighborhoods, as well as a resulting backlash in the form of tough on crime policies.
There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States dating back to the Articles of Confederation. New York City’s economy was much worse during the 1970’s, almost declaring bankruptcy and still did not see as many murders as the “crack years”. No era has seen as many murders as the crack years which you so kindly copied and pasted in your post.
Early 2000’s recession Mar 2001–Nov 2001
Great Recession 2007-2009 These recessions did not result in increase of violent crimes and murder. So much for your cherry picking of data.

what about now??

crack cocaine is still sold today on our streets and yet murders and crime are at an historical low…oh wait, maybe its because we have a good economy?…I wonder if crime will rise when the economy tanks and there are massive layoffs, huge budget shortfalls and and a smaller police force due to retirements and a lack of funding to replace them?…I guess that doesn’t matter because crack cocaine is the root cause…well thank god I don’t have to worry about that anymore

Great Recession

Yeah…the fake “great recession” lasted about 15 minutes until Obama borrowed 10 trillion dollars and doubled our national debt and we had a big party instead..having the Fed keep the prime interest rate at 0% forced everyone out of the bond market and into stocks and sent wall street into the stratosphere…with the tax revenue from that NYC actually improved during the so called recession…our credit is running out…the party is comes the hangover

Dartmouth Street

WOW!! Now you’re screaming about crack..hahaha. Are you sure you want to create a new argument when you really dropped the ball with your recession equals death and murder doomsday rant? Really? Keep it up buddy you’re hilarious…


Exactly how long much an economy be in recession before we have thousands of recession related murders in a year? Your theory and predictions are fascinating.


Fake recession of 2007-2009?? Fake tell that to the tens of thousands of people who lost their jobs during “fake” recession. Are you for real, fake??

Gardens Watcher

The Mayor desperately is looking for a win — any win — especially after his failed bid for President. Who can believe this last minute, best guess lowered estimate is any more believable than a pie-in-the-sky campaign promise made days before an election?

How in the world can Corey Johnson claim that “to now reach 3,300 inmates is an extraordinary achievement” when that’s just their latest forecast of what they wish (ur, hope) the number of inmates WILL BE in 6 years from now?

Who can believe this plan will only cost $11 BILLION and will be completed by 2026? Where’s the revised sketch for the proposed new jail for Queens? Is it still 27-stories high? Why isn’t there a comprehensive plan to deal with all of the problems with Rikers, and not just the facility itself?

Lots of questions remain. And none of the boroughs want it.


This whole “study” is nonsense! How can they predict the number of inmates will be so much lower in 7 years? They’re a bunch of wackos fudging the statistics again. Yes, we can get the numbers down to zero also by not making any arrests!!


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