The New York City fully supports Mayor De Blasio’s decision to close down Rikers Island.
“De Blasio has made it a goal to reduce the number of inmates held in city jails as part of his vision for criminal-justice reform — and closing Rikers and building the new facilities is part of that,” Global Grind reported.
The detention center has a notorious reputation for violence and corruption, so the conversation about closing it down is a bit dated. JAY-Z supported the closing of Rikers, as he made it the centerpiece of his documentary, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, that detailed what led to the former inmate taking his own life after being released from Rikers.
Councilman Andy King shared an interesting perspective on the issue: “If we want to fix the criminal justice system, then let’s fix the criminal justice system and be honest and true about us correcting that system — and not blame it on the brick and mortar of Rikers Island.”
But this plan to close the detention center will not be an overnight process. There’s an $8 billion plan to close Rikers and replace it with four new borough-based jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx by 2026. However, De Blasio and most of the City Council’s terms will be up in the next two years.
“I don’t know anyone running for mayor or running for council next time who will say, ‘Oh no wait, let’s go back to Rikers Island,'” de Blasio told NY1 on Thursday shortly after the vote. “Is someone going to say, ‘I want to stop all that and have Rikers Island come back to life, change all those laws, and go back to this place that failed’? If they do that, I think they’re going to have the people of this city turn against them.”