Rikers Island for local jails would trigger a “humanitarian crisis”.

A “humanitarian crisis” could arise if Rikers Island is replaced by the undersized prisons in boroughs championed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to a new study by the Manhattan Institute.

Four facilities with 825 people would lack thousands of beds to accommodate the roughly 5,600 people housed in city jails on an average night, a population that could increase if crime levels in the coming years ahead of the planned 2027 closure by Rikers could rise, the 34-page report notes.

“The result will be either severe overcrowding that can create conditions even worse than those at Rikers, or the release of many hundreds of dangerous or fleeing offenders onto the streets, increasing crime and the city’s disorder problems.” exacerbated,” argues the lopsided think tank.

While “renovating or buying back closed prisons; Construction of small additional county jails. in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx “and the ‘exit’ of inmates to Long Island and Westchester County” could increase the capacity of the city’s prisons, the report argues that this would hardly be enough to replace Rikers.

Several facilities on the island collectively house about 15,000 people who are serving short sentences or awaiting trial, though they have been plagued by violence that has prompted calls for a federal takeover.

“Pushing the prison plan on a district basis is a recipe for disaster. It will create a system incapable of detaining everyone it needs to detain,” the report said.

New York City law mandates prisons on Rikers Island near 2027.

Mayor Adams has similarly argued that the increase in crime and the unlikelihood of a significant decline in the city jails’ population should preclude Rikers from closure, while noting that current city statute required him to do the job.

“I need the people who are idealistic to deal with the realism of this thing,” he added. “People commit violent crimes,” he said Aug. 31, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The City Council approved plans for the county jails in 2019 at the behest of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We must have a plan B, because those who created plan A, which I inherited, obviously didn’t think about a plan B… If we don’t lower the prison population the way they thought we would, what do we do – nobody has answered that question,” Adams said.

De Blasio campaigned to replace the prisons on Rikers Island with four prisons in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Pos

A spokesman for the mayor did not immediately comment Thursday on how he would address the capacity issue of future prisons, given the report released Thursday by the Manhattan Institute.

Some Pols say the Manhattan Institute’s analysis fails to take into account how incarcerating fewer people, particularly for petty crimes, could make it easier to shut down Rikers.

“Instead of building more and bigger prisons, New Yorkers deserve more resources for community-based solutions such as improved access to medical and mental health care, increased use of best restorative justice practices, safe and affordable housing, and real job opportunities with living wages,” he said Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn), the chair of state Senate Corrections, told The Post on Thursday.

Standing laughing Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams has questioned the “realism” of closing Rikers by 2027.

But longtime opponents of the plan say the study confirms what they’ve been saying for years.

Sylvia Hack, chair of the Land Use Authority of Queens Community Board 9, a longtime resident of Kew Gardens, where a jail is planned, claimed Thursday that the Manhattan Institute study supports the argument that replacing rikers with neighborhood jails is “a dream of the future.” be.

“All they’re doing is moving Rikers into four shared apartments that can’t provide what’s necessary,” Hack said.

“That’s ridiculous. The city plan will not achieve its goals.”

A sign outside of Rikers Island
Eighteen inmates have died on infamous Rikers Island this year.

She also noted that about half of the city’s jailed inmates have some type of mental health issue and the current Rikers exit plan does not adequately address their issues.

Hack said a facility for inmates with mental health needs can be built on Rikers, which has the space, while the neighborhood cannot.

“Rikers Island is 413 acres!” she said.

The Community Preservation Coalition, which opposes the county-level jail plan, estimates it would cost $15 billion, nearly double the city’s $8.6 billion budget.
“What we have here is expensive madness,” Hack said.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/01/report-says-borough-based-jails-plan-would-fail-enough-people-if-rikers-island-closes/ Rikers Island for local jails would trigger a “humanitarian crisis”.


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