City to close Brooklyn Detention Complex next year
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 26, 2019 | 2242 views | 0 0 comments | 191 191 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The de Blasio administration announced last week that the city will close two jails in 2020 as part of the roadmap to close Rikers Island by 2026.

The Brooklyn Detention Complex in Boerum Hill is slated for closure by the end of January, followed by the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island in March.

They will be the second and third facilities closed by the city as part of its effort to shut down jails on Rikers Island and build four borough-based jails. The city’s incarcerated population has fallen below 7,000, and is expected to drop to 3,300 by 2026, officials said.

“With the lowest rate of incarceration of any major city and crime at historic lows, New York is again debunking the notion that you must arrest your way to safety,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “These two closures show that we are making good on our promise to close Rikers Island and create a correctional system that is fundamentally smaller, safer and fairer.”

The Boerum Hill jail, located at 275 Atlantic Avenue, opened in 1957 and currently houses about 400 people. It has the capacity to hold 759 inmates.

The EMTC was built in 1964, was expanded in 1973, and has the capacity to house 1,619 people. It currently houses 850 people who are serving sentences of one year or less.

According to the city, the staff at both facilities will be reassigned to other sites. The closures will not result in any layoffs.

Additionally, admissions that are now processed at the Brooklyn Detention Complex will be accommodated in other borough facilities. No one currently housed at BKDC will be moved to Rikers “unless there is a specific housing need,” the city said.

“By consolidating our population and staff in the department’s newer facilities, we will reduce overtime, expand officer training, more easily provide programs to individuals in custody and ensure everyone can reap the benefits of the strategic investments we have made to enhance overall safety,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Cynthia Brann.

Last month, the City Council approved the land use application to allow four borough-based jails to be built.

The de Blasio administration said with the decline in enforcement, drop in crime and new pre-trial bail alternative services, as well as the new state bail laws going into effect next year, they anticipate a sharp drop in the jail population.

“It is very encouraging to see the de Blasio administration moving quickly on the first steps toward achieving this goal of shutting down the first two facilities,” said Councilman Donovan Richards, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety, “where detainees suffer some of the worst conditions.

“There is still much more work to do,” he added, “and I look forward to continuing to push this effort forward until we finally close down Rikers Island for good.”
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