NYC to close 2 jails as part of plan to close Rikers Island

Officials say the closures will occur by early 2020, will not cause layoffs

Chelsia Rose Marcius
New York Daily News

NEW YORK CITY — The city expects to shut down two jails by early next year as part a larger plan to open up four new borough-based jails and move all correctional facilities off Rikers Island, the Daily News has learned.

The Brooklyn Detention Complex (BKDC) in Boerum Hill is slated to close by the end of January, and the Eric M. Taylor Center (EMTC) on Rikers Island will shut down in March, officials told The News on Thursday.

“New York is again debunking the notion that you must arrest your way to safety," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "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.”

BKDC currently houses about 400 people — less than half of its total capacity — while EMTC houses about 850, roughly half its 1,700 capacity, officials 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," said Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann.

The closures will be the second and third facilities to shut down since the George Motchan Detention Center on Rikers was shuttered last year. Officials said they targeted the 62-year-old BKDC and the 55-year-old EMTC because of poor conditions like lack of air conditioning and inadequate space for programming.

“The city’s ability to close additional facilities is just the latest proof that the reform and programming efforts launched over the past six years are having the desired impact: closing Rikers means keeping people from entering jails to begin with," said Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

The city said those who are incarcerated at BKDC won’t be moved to any of the remaining jails on Rikers Island, unless they need special accommodations that are only available there. It’s yet known if the EMTC inmates will remain on Rikers in a different building or be transferred to a jail off the island.

The city announced last month that it projects the average daily jail population will fall to 3,330 by 2026 — the year all inmates are expected to move off Rikers Island and into the new borough-based jails.

Officials said the closure will not result in Department of Correction layoffs.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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