NYC to close Rikers Island jail complex, replace it with 4 smaller jails

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FILE – This June 20, 2014 file photo shows the Rikers Island jail complex in New York with the Manhattan skyline in the background. New York City lawmakers are considering a plan to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails. The City Council is set to vote Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 on a plan to build the jails that would replace Rikers. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on New York City’s plan to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

New York City lawmakers have approved a plan to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails.

The City Council voted Thursday to build the new jails and close Rikers by 2016.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called Rikers Island “a symbol of brutality and inhumanity.” He said the city must move away from “The failed policies of mass incarceration.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats support the plan. They say falling crime rates and criminal justice reforms mean the city will only need cells for about 3,300 prisoners per day by 2026.

That’s less than half the 7,000 prisoners now housed daily in city jails, and way down from the 22,000 incarcerated in 1991.


1 a.m.

New York City lawmakers are considering a plan to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails.

The City Council is set to vote Thursday on a plan to build replacement jails in time to close Rikers Island by 2026.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats support the proposal.

They say falling crime rates and criminal justice reforms mean the city will only need cells for about 3,300 prisoners per day by 2026.

That’s less than half the 7,000 prisoners now housed daily in city jails, and way down from the 22,000 incarcerated in 1991.

Skeptics say shrinking the city’s jail population that low could turn violent criminals loose on the streets.

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(This story was originally published on October 17, 2019)

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