Oct 17, 2019

NYC council votes to shut down 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.

Go deeper: Special report: Profiting from prison

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Speed bumps on the way to smart cities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NEW YORK — The journey to smart cities is off to a slower start than predicted, with many projects stuck in pilot phases and cities unable to find the skilled workers to keep them going.

Why it matters: The vision of smart cities is to use data, sensors and software applications to allow cities to be more responsive to residents' needs (like detecting when trash cans are full) and more environmentally sustainable (like detecting water leaks in underground pipes).

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

Big Tech's hyperlocal fights

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For decades, America's tech giants scaled up quietly — paying little attention to the cities and towns that hosted them. Now, they're answering to the communities that have felt the most acute effects of their explosive growth.

Why it matters: Much of the backlash against Big Tech is occurring on a national — or even global — scale, but the giants are realizing some of their toughest and priciest fights are in their hometowns.

Go deeperArrowOct 24, 2019

NYPD commissioner to announce departure

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill will announce Monday he is leaving his post for a job in the private sector, according to the Wall Street Journal. A successor to Mr. O’Neill hasn’t been named.

The big picture: During O'Neill's time as the head of the largest police force in the nation, crime rates remained at historic lows. Officers moved away from stop-and-frisk tactics and aggressive enforcement of some low-level infractions.

Go deeperArrowNov 4, 2019