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Proposed Kew Gardens Jail to be 19 Stories, City Shortens Jail Ahead of Council Vote

Queens Detention Center Decommissioned in 2002. Building will be demolished and redeveloped for borough-based jail

Oct. 15, 2019 By Shane O’Brien 

The size of the proposed new jail in Kew Gardens has been reduced yet again as the City Council prepares to vote on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to shut down Rikers Island and replace it with four borough-based jails by 2026.

The proposed jail at 182-02 82nd Ave. will be reduced from 27 stories to 19 stories, according to Alacia Lauer, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

The jail’s proposed height will now be reduced by 75 feet to 195 feet. The jail was originally slated to be 270 feet tall.

The jail will be designed for 886 inmates and will incorporate segregated housing for men and women, according to Michael Cohen, Communications Director for Council Member Karen Koslowitz. Of the 886 cells, 150 have been designated to hold women.

The jail’s capacity has been reduced by almost half since the plans were first announced.

The mayor’s plan called for a jail capable of housing 1,437 inmates as recently as June. These figures were then then revised down to 1,150 and were then lowered again to 1,000 inmates over the summer.

Lauer said that the mayor’s office was preparing for the lowest jail population in New York City in more than 100 years and that the proposed borough-based jails have been reduced as a result.

“We are now planning for a system with the fewest number of people in jail in over a century. Thanks to the tireless work of many justice system partners and advocates, the borough-based facilities can be smaller while still providing space and programming opportunities for people detained or working in the facilities,” Lauer said.

All four proposed borough-based jails have been reduced to reflect New York’s shrinking jail population, Lauer said. Jails in Queens and the Bronx will stand at 195 feet, while jails in Brooklyn and Manhattan will both stand at 295 feet.

The mayor’s office says the cost to build the new jails will be $8.7 billion.

Council Member Karen Koslowitz, who has long advocated for a drastically smaller jail in Kew Gardens, said that the reduction came after months of discussions with the mayor’s office.

“The last several months I have been adamant that the proposed size of the borough based jail in Kew Gardens needed to be significantly reduced,” Koslowitz said. “As a result of difficult negotiations with the Administration I am pleased to have reduced the height of the facility by close to 100 feet, and cut the number of beds that the facility will house nearly in half.”

The reduction comes after mayor’s office announced a revised forecast for the city’s 2026 jail population on Monday. De Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that the city’s jail population would be reduced to 3,300 by the time the borough-based jails in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx were finished.

The mayor’s office had recently forecast that it would house 4,000 inmates by 2026 and predicted that it would hold 5,000 inmates when the proposals were first put forward in 2017.

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.

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We need to figure out how to prevent our final-term reps from crapping on their supporters.
Koslowitz has nothing to lose. She can’t run again anyway.
Katz is also in her final term, and suddenly dumped on her base, to support closing Rikers and a jail in Jew Gardens.
There must be a way to introduce legislation to deter corrupt politicians from harming their supporters as their term winds down.

No Kew Gardens Jail

Just like the way Trump will lift the Russian sanctions if he gets a second term.


I shouldn’t dignify this with a response but Jew Gardens? What is wrong with you? Try not to be so proud of your ignorance

Robert mapplethorpe

Ah yes our champagne socialist are complaining?? This is the end result of voting socialist. Good!! Good!! karma came. A legalized form of block busting . Vote for Donavan and Katz if u want Queens county to mimic the Bronx and Brooklyn. Election time is coming. U want it to stop get out and vote these opportunists and phony mouthpieces out.

I love it when Trump lovers pretend to hate the elite rich

That’s why you voted for the billionaire living in a gold tower right? But you pretend to hate “champagne socialists?!” No one’s buying it.

I agree, it's hilarious when Trump lovers pretend to hate the elite rich

To your point: maga or something


Koslowitz has served only her pockets and ruined a peaceful residential community in Kew Gardens for all generations to come. Good luck raising your kids in a shadow of a jail. Law abiding tax paying citizens and business will soon leave the city as the council and mayor serve the ultra rich and the criminals who are now given free pass by de Blasio to harass and beat up citizens with no consequences. Who are you voting for in the next elections?! God help us all!

No To Kew Gardens Jail

This jail needs to be put in a neighborhood that these inmates are coming from. About 10 years ago a study released and published in all the papers stated 13 neighborhoods ( zip codes) in NYC were responsible for the overwhelming majority of inmates in NY State prison. These jails need to be put in these neighborhoods. They’re creating these criminals they should have to deal with them. RuinedNYC what an overkill dramatic post. Are you this dramatic about the crimes committed by the Republican President?

Barbara Giorgi

Horrible idea, a better idea is to build a 20 story jail next door to the mayors house and all the politicians that voted for this insanity.


Does KK really think she did this community a favor by getting us a smaller jail? Congrats KK, your legacy will be the ruination of Kew Gardens, think about that when you vote yes on the 17th.


A JAIL IS A JAIL IS A JAIL regardless of size!
Why on earth do they want to build a jail with 900 inmates in Kew Gardens, a residential neighborhood which contains 7 public schools and pre-school facilities??? What will happen to the surrounding areas if there are riots, cases of arson inside, or escapees from, the jail? Those who support the proposed jail shall be accountable for any damages, injuries, and deaths resulting from such incidents.


If the claimed basis for the new locations is because it will be more accessible for the family members of the inmates/criminals then why aren’t they being built in the areas where these criminals are from? Placing a large prison in the middle of a low crime above average area is simply ridiculous. Secondly, restoring, rehabing, and reconditioning Rikers will eventually prove to be cheaper and will have far less opposition than building four new prisons in four boroughs.

No Kew Gardens Jail

This jail needs to be put in one of the “zip code of origin” of the inmates who will be housed there. The whole objective of the shutdown of Rikers movement snd replacing it with smaller community jails is to make visitation easier for family and friends to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones.

Gardens Watcher

If you do the crime in Queens, I assume you’ll be jailed in Queens, regardless of where you live, right?


GW- The commenter is saying put the jail in one of the zip codes that the majority of the perps hail from. The new community jail system is to make visitation easier for inmates and inmate visitors. Politicians are vague on if criminals will be housed in borough where crime was perpetrated or the inmates “home” borough. A well located hotel to some.


No, I’m sorry, this is not good enough. First of all, this ridiculous last minute pandering about reducing the amount of inmates makes no sense. They can’t possibly predict how many prisoners there will be, and this is all speculation. Just look at how crazy this sounds, we’re spending billions to build shiny new prisons, how about shiny new SCHOOLS to deal with all the overcrowding??? And I’m sorry but 19 stories will still tower over the area!


Sigh….The jail population isn’t going down because crime is going down. The numbers are being skewed/lessened as the years go by because the office is changing the labels and requirements for what designated a ‘crime’ and ‘jail time’ . When you let sexual predators and those who assault others out of holding/court right after a hearing that isn’t helping the city. That’s putting the danger right back on the streets instead of in the jails… When robberies, hate crimes and sexual assaults are relabeled to minor offenses/assaults to avoid raising neighborhood/city crime rates, YOU’RE NOT HELPING ANYONE BUT YOUR OWN POLITICAL AGENDAS.


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