New York Mayor Eric Adams has called on the city council to reevaluate the plan to close down Rikers Island Prison Complex in 2027 due to high costs and public safety.
The plan: The plan to close Rikers Island in four years and build jails in each of the city’s boroughs, except Staten Island, was initiated by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017.
The controversy: The controversial plan was met by hundreds of protesters in Manhattan’s Chinatown, leading Adams to previously promise not to build the jail during his campaign.
Critics highlighted health risks due to potential air pollution during construction and the prison’s negative impact on local businesses and the community, which have already been affected by anti-Asian attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adams’ concerns: On Tuesday morning at the New York Law School, Adams asked council members to find another solution given the skyrocketing costs of shutting down the incarceration center and the billions of dollars required to build neighborhood prisons in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
“It was a flawed plan from the beginning,” Adams said, according to the New York Post. “Everyone created this ideal environment, and now we’re stuck with something that started at one price tag, and now it has ballooned beyond belief.”
The mayor also took into account the safety of the communities where the prisons are set to be built.
“Those who are on Rikers now, because of bail reform and because of other reforms, you really have to do something bad to go to Rikers,” Adams noted.
“Are we as a city willing to say that 2,000 extremely dangerous people, because we don’t have enough space, we’re going to turn them back onto the streets and back to the communities that they committed these crimes in in the first place? We have to remain safe as a city. As the plan currently stands, there’s a question, is this a good public safety decision?”
According to ABC 7
, the federal government might also take over the troubled facility. The fate of the unwanted borough prisons is currently uncertain.