With a 9-3 vote, the New York City Planning Commission recently approved a plan that would relocate jails into the city's boroughs after shutting down the jail on Rikers Island.
"On September 3rd, to the dismay of many community members and prison reform activists, New York City’s Planning Commission (CPC) approved Mayor de Blasio’s 'Smaller, Safer, Fairer' plan to shut down Rikers Island's jail facilities and replace them with four smaller borough-based centers by 2026," reports Leilah Stone.
The plan is moving forward under the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, with a City Council approval waiting as a final step. "The Mayor’s plan would introduce a 1,150-bed jail tower to a site in close proximity to each borough’s courthouse—down from what was originally proposed—as a way of improving transportation to court dates as well as bringing inmates closer to their families and communities," according to Stone.
As noted by Stone, the idea of new jails opening in neighborhoods isn't popular in the neighborhoods. "Each community board in an area sited for a new jail tower voted down the plan for a number of reasons, which have been echoed by local residents and prison reform activists—including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who recently endorsed the most prominent advocacy group, No New Jails."
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