City Planning Commission Approves Plan For Borough-Based Jails

Steve Burns
September 03, 2019 - 7:22 pm
Rikers Island

BEHAR ANTHONY/SIPA

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to close down Riker’s Island and replace it with four smaller jails around the city took another step forward on Tuesday.

As the City Planning Commission voted to approve the plan that would close the jail and set up smaller prisons, activists took to the streets to ensure the proposal wouldn’t go through, but their calls were left unanswered.

“I’m proud that the Commission could play its part by voting to approve borough-based jails,” one board member said as protesters chanted.

Despite their cries, the commission approved the plan 9-3, which brings it to the City Council for final approval.

However, many local officials have begun to speak out against the plan, and it may face significant push back.

"They're just ramming this down everybody's throat” said Bronx Borough President Rubin Diaz Jr.

He has been one of the plans more vocal critics and says the de Blasio administration isn't allowing enough voices into the debate around the jail plan for Mott Haven.

“A handful of people are now making decisions for four different boroughs. This is not the way to govern,” he said.

Similar concerns have played out in Chinatown, Boerum Hill and Kew Gardens – where the other three jails would be built.

All four were packaged together as the plan went through the land use review process – something critics say is unprecedented. 

The City Council has a hearing planned for Thursday.