City map change would ban Rikers prisons forever – Queens Daily Eagle

The city’s borough-based jail plan, which is due for a full council vote later this month, would build three new facilities near the courthouses in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and a fourth at the site of an NYPD towing ground in the Bronx. Supporters of the plan, including de Blasio and various board members, say the proposal is designed to shut down obsolete and dangerous facilities on Rikers Island – but that intention was never included in the wording of the proposal.

“Throughout this process, the city’s commitment has always been to permanently close the prisons on Rikers Island,” said Alacia Lauer, spokesperson for the mayor’s office of criminal justice.

The proposed card change demonstrates “a clear commitment that legally says Rikers Island will no longer be used to jail anyone,” JustLeadershipUSA spokesperson Brandon Holmes told The Eagle.

“This gives us a clear date for the Rikers shutdown and not just a clear plan for how we’ll shut down Rikers,” Holmes added. “Tying these two things together is important. “

JustLeadershipUSA advocated for the closure of Rikers, the reduction of the city’s prison population to 3,000 inmates and the opening of a new detention center in the Bronx, while renovating the three existing borough jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The current city plan and Rikers’ map change are steps towards that goal, Holmes said.

The map change will now enter the city’s Uniform Land Use Review procedure. The multi-month process, known as ULURP, includes public hearings, a non-binding Queens Community Board vote 1, who has jurisdiction over Rikers Island, and the President of the Borough of Queens – a position that may soon open whether Melinda Katz wins the November general election for Queens District Attorney – before the proposal goes back to city council for a vote.

Several board members stay on the fence on the plane and declined to state their position before the full council vote. But at least two uncertain lawmakers believe the card change is a positive development.

“This is an encouraging step in the right direction as these negotiations continue,” said a spokesperson for council member Costa Constantinides, presidential candidate for the Borough of Queens. Constantinides proposed to transform Rikers Island into a renewable energy center.

Council member Donovan Richards, another candidate for the Borough’s presidency, said the map change offers “a real chance here to send a national message that Rikers Island, the country’s most notorious prison, is shutting down his doors”.

Nonetheless, opponents of the penitentiary plan say that the proposal to ban Rikers prisons does nothing to divert city funding from detention centers to community services, education and housing in communities most affected by it. mass incarceration.

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