Seth Wenig / AP
The New York City Council voted 36-13 Thursday to approve a plan to close the notorious Rickers Island Prison Complex by 2026 in favor of four smaller prisons distributed in the city.
Under the $ 8 billion plan, four new or expanded prisons will be located in the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens districts, closer to existing courts.
The proposal was born of the conclusion of Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats who massively shut down and a massive prison complex are out of step in an era of declining crime. About 7,000 prisoners are currently housed in Rickers, down from nearly 22,000 in 1991 at the height of the crack epidemic. The plan calls for a further reduction of the prison population to 3,300 prisoners or more than half over the next six years.
"What we do today will change the city for future generations and affect the lives of every new Yorker," City Council Chairman Corey Corey Johnson said Thursday. "For decades, our city has been unfair to those who joined the justice system, and the overwhelming majority who were caught were black-and-brown men."
The plan opposes the benevolent association of correctional officers and some residents of neighborhoods in proximity to local prisons.
Others say this move is untenable and will jeopardize public safety.
"There is simply no way to reduce the average daily prison population – described by the city itself as" more violent and difficult to manage "- even more without leaving dangerous criminals on the street," writes Rafael A. Mangual, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute Conservative Trust before the vote to close Rickers.
Proponents of the Rikers jail say this move is in line with the wave of other criminal justice reforms. marijuana is rarely prosecuted state law comes into force in January, banning a bail bond for most felonies and non-violent crimes, which means fewer people are expected to be jailed while awaiting trial.
Rickers, a 10-prison complex located an island between Queens and the Bronx, mainly detained prisoners awaiting trial, known for violence, inhumane conditions and neglect.