De Blasio won't open Staten Island jail when Rikers closes
- Author: Annette Adams Apr 05, 2017,
Apr 05, 2017, 0:16
Plans for Rikers Island were revealed Sunday after Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to close the jail facility Friday.
Mayor de Blasio announced his support for the plan although researchers say such an ambitious project could come with a price tag of $13.9 billion, although it would save the city $1.4 billion annually.
Martin, founder of JustLeadershipUSA that runs CLOSErikers, told Metro that even his friends thought he was insane for pursuing the shutdown.
"Today, we've got about 9,500 people in custody in our entire jail system", he said. "My own colleagues, my own allies, literally people who worked their whole lives for criminal justice reform, told me to stop saying it out loud because it just isn't going to happen".
Before his grand announcement, de Blasio opposed closing Rikers, calling the idea "unrealistic" and a diversion from progressive reform.
The commission says it has already discussed plans on redeveloping the 413-acre island once the jail is torn down.
For decades Rikers Island has earned a reputation as a troubled place, riddled with crime and a hostile staff, as reported by The New York Times.
Another problem is the difficulty families have in getting to Rikers for visits, which further alienates inmates from the outside world. We believe that can be achieved in the next 10 years. "In the end, you still are going to need facilities, he said". "Very early it was clear the only answer would be to take it down".
Flowers rest atop of pictures of Kalief Browder in New York, June 11, 2015. Once the goal is reached, this would allow the majority of inmates to depart from Rikers, causing the facility to close. In order to move inmates off of the island, the report lays out six borough-based jails that are located near courthouses. Those reports included the suicide of Kalief Browder, who hanged himself after spending three years jailed - mostly in solitary - without trial and a homeless ex-Marine who essentially baked to death in a hot cell.
Lippman recommended the closure of Rikers Island and the construction of new jails across the five boroughs, at an expected cost of $10.6 billion.
Empaneled at the request of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the commission is chaired by Jonathan Lippman, former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the state's top court, and is comprised of a variety of experts, advocates and policymakers.