Oct 17, 2019

NYC council votes to shut down Rikers Island

A view of Rikers Island.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The New York City Council approved a measure on Thursday to shutter Rikers Island jail complex by 2026, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Supporters say closing the jail complex, which housed nearly 10,000 beds, "puts New York City at the forefront of a national movement to reverse decades of mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black and Hispanic people," the Times notes. The institution was known for inmate abuse, mismanagement and neglect.

  • Per the newly approved, $8 billion plan, Rikers will be replaced by four new jails throughout the city. Officials are aiming to make the new facilities "safer and fairer," as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday.
  • De Blasio and other local officials suggest that dwindling crime rates and criminal justice reforms mean New York City will only require beds for 3,300 prisoners a day by the time the new complex is scheduled for completion, per AP. Presently, about 7,000 prisoners are housed in city jails.

But, but, but: This transition could be logistically burdensome, with thousands of prisoners, resources and staff to be relocated.

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