News

Eric Adams faces backlash over neighborhood jails plan

Opening four borough jails to replace the beleaguered Rikers Island complex is emerging as a politically explosive issue for Mayor Eric Adams amid outrage over the city’s crime surgesources told The Post.

A hint of the backlash that lies ahead surfaced at the inaugural ceremony for new Lower East Side Councilman Christopher Marte on Feb 27.

In a surprise announcement during his speech, Marte suggested he had persuaded Adams to oppose opening a “mega jail” in Chinatown.

“Let me tell you what happened this past Friday. I met with the mayor and his leadership team, and made the case not to build a jail in Chinatown. There were people on that call that want the jail to happen,” Marte said.

“But we won the mayor over to our side,” Marte claimed to applause the Village Sun reported.

A source who attended Marte’s inaugural speech confirmed the councilman’s remarks to The Post and was stunned at his claim that Adams opposed the jail.

The deal to close the Rikers jail complex in favor of community jails in every borough except Staten Island what approved in 2019 by former Mayor Bill de Blasio and many term-limited City Council members who are no longer around. That action preceded the COVID-19 pandemic when crime was relatively low.

Attendees at the Lunar New Year Parade held signs protesting the city's plans for the Manhattan Detention Complex.
Attendees at the Lunar New Year Parade held signs protesting the city’s plans for the Manhattan Detention Complex.
Gina M Randazzo/ZUMA Press Wire
The Kew Garden Court Parking Lot where a proposed jail site is set to be located.
The Kew Garden Court Parking Lot where a proposed jail site is set to be located.
Brigitte Stelzer

The four new jails are slated to be built on the site of the NYPD’s Bronx tow pound, at the now-closed Queens Detention Center in Kew Gardens and at the current sites of the Brooklyn Detention Complex in Boerum Hill and Manhattan Detention Complex in Chinatown.

Asked about Marte’s comments, Adams’ office issued a carefully worded statement that said the plan to close Rikers was set in motion by his predecessor de Blasio.

“Before the new administration took over, the city began to move forward with plans for a Manhattan Detention Complex site as part of its commitment to closing the jails on Rikers Island by 2027. As supported by groups across the city, four new, smaller, more modern facilities close to courts and communities were to be built across the boroughs,” said Adams spokesman Fabien Levy.

Politicians and prisoner advocacy groups gather for a rally and press conference outside of the main entrance to Rikers Island regarding the poor conditions in the jail.
Politicians and prisoner advocacy groups gather for a rally and press conference outside of the main entrance to Rikers Island regarding the poor conditions in the jail.
Derek French/Shutterstock
The Community Preservation Coalition are pushing a phone and text blitz campaign urging council members and the mayor to consider a plan to modernize the Rikers complex.
The Community Preservation Coalition are pushing a phone and text blitz campaign urging council members and the mayor to consider a plan to modernize the Rikers complex.
Stephen Yang

“The city will continue to meet with communities, hear their concerns, and incorporate their feedback into the on-going process,” the rep said.

Marte, contacted by The Post about his comments, backpedaled on his publicly declared claim that Adams now opposed the jail in Chinatown, saying he was misunderstood.

The councilman said Adams hasn’t decided but emphasized that he’s “listening to the community.”

Protesters march through Chinatown from Columbus Park to the Manhattan Bridge protesting four skyscraper jails.
Protesters march through Chinatown from Columbus Park to the Manhattan Bridge protesting four skyscraper jails.
Kevin C Downs for New York Post

“I was excited that Mayor Adams was listening to me on this issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Queens neighborhood activists behind a group called the Community Preservation Coalition are pushing a phone and text blitz campaign urging council members and the mayor to consider a plan to modernize the Rikers complex and scrap the four-borough jails plan, including the one at Kew Gardens.

“The high-rise tower plan is no solution, but simply a transfer of Rikers’ problems into residential communities,” the group said.

Riker's Island
The deal to close the Rikers jail complex in favor of community jails in every borough except Staten Island was approved in 2019 by former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

“This alternate plan provides solutions; Services that can reduce recidivism and provide professional treatment for the mentally ill who make up 49 percent of jail detainees. It deserves consideration and a positive response.”

One Queens pol said, “There is a hardcore opposition at Kew Gardens. These residents are one-issue voters. If you’re for the jail, they will tune you out on everything else.”

“And this was before the recent spike in crime,” the pol noted.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/06/eric-adams-faces-backlash-over-neighborhood-jails-plan/ Eric Adams faces backlash over neighborhood jails plan

JACLYN DIAZ

USTimeToday is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimetoday.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button