New Jail City

The Story

Mayor de Blasio has presented some of the details of his proposal to close Rikers Island and build county-based jails closer to borough courthouses. Accompanied by appealing illustrations, the draft plan promises to make jails more accommodating for inmates; the facilities will blend into the local community, with retail space and other amenities. But for the plan to come to fruition, the number of inmates at Rikers must be substantially reduced, and de Blasio has yet to demonstrate convincingly that this is workable. 

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Hardcore: Violence at Rikers has soared as the number of inmates has declined, because those remaining tend to be hardcore repeat offenders. Read more.

  2. Quality: The plan to close Rikers is based on decriminalization of various serious violations, including prostitution and possession of dangerous knives. Read more.

  3. Solitary: After banning solitary confinement for young offenders, the city began transferring especially tough cases to upstate jails, where the practice is still permitted. Read more.

“Correction officers warn that spreading out the population won’t keep guards any safer — particularly if the use of preventive detention is discouraged or banned.”

New York Post editorial

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Dysfunction City By Bob McManus (April 11, 2017)

“The last time Official New York decided that criminals mattered more than civic tranquility, John Vliet Lindsay was mayor and decades of chaos lay ahead.”

And in other news...

“The new law requires a police officer or marshal to check the property for the “presence of a companion animal” before executing an eviction order, and make efforts to find the owner if a pet is found.”