Rikers Island

BEHAR ANTHONY/SIPA

City Scales Down Planned High-Rise Jails To Replace Rikers Island

March 22, 2019 - 7:03 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The de Blasio administration announced Friday that it plans to have Rikers Island closed by 2027, when smaller jails will be constructed in four of the boroughs.

Though, after facing a slew of community pushback, the administration has agreed to reduce the projected height of each of its planned borough-based jails in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

For instance, the Manhattan White Street high-rise facility was originally planned to be nearly 500-feet tall and has been reduced to 450-feet.

“We think it's significant,” Director of the mayor's office of criminal justice Elizabeth Glazer said. “We think that this is a first step and we continue to look at ways to both reduce the heights and to ensure the integrity of the program.”

The height of the planned Brooklyn jail will go roughly from 43 to 40 stories. The Bronx nolock-up will only be 25 floors and the Queens jail is now planned for 27 stories.

The administration made the reductions come after months of protests, in which residents claimed Mayor Bill de Blasio is “just going to leave office and leave us a tower jail.”

After the announcement was made to close Rikers Island in favor of multiple smaller jails throughout the city, communities immediately called for the plans to be scrapped.

Mayor de Blasio has hoped the smaller jails will end mass incarceration in New York City and provide an example for cities across the country.

It’s believed the coming borough-based jails are more humane and safer for both inmates and correction officers.