Early Thursday morning, August 16th 2018, Mayor de Blasio released his updated borough-based jail expansion plan along with a collection of carefully curated brochures. CR NYC and other community organizations have long taken the position that the city must work to immediately close Rikers without constructing new jails but rather through strategies that reduce imprisonment and policing. Now, after years of keeping the public waiting and many differing pieces of information on this issue, the city has formally unveiled details about the siting of new jails across the four boroughs, with each of the jails caging 1,510 community members.
The Bronx: The City intends to build a jail at the existing NYPD tow pound at 320 Concord Avenue.
Manhattan: The City intends to construct a new jail where a government building currently stands at 80 Centre Street, down the street from the Tombs.
Brooklyn: The City intends to demolish the existing Brooklyn Detention Center at 275 Atlantic Avenue and replace it with a new jail.
Queens: The City intends to demolish the existing Queens Detention Facility at 126-02 82nd Street and replace it with a new jail.
The plan for a new Bronx jail is especially egregious considering widely-covered resistance to the NYPD Tow Pound site by Bronx community groups, some clearly calling for no new jails in the South Bronx, and no new jails anywhere. This news follows information leaked last week asserting what we now see is true – that the City is considering gutting a lower Manhattan government building and constructing a 40-story jail in its place. The same massive construction project could be true for other jails, as the Brooklyn House of Detention site is zoned to allow for a building up to 40 stories as well. According to the documents released today, the City is planning to build structures to imprison 6,040 people over 6,370,000 gross square feet of new jail space.
Speak out against jail construction in our communities!
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Every proposal that goes through ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) must include an assessment of its potential negative environmental impacts – done under the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) procedures. The Environmental Assessment Statement released yesterday and prepared by Perkins Eastman – the design firm given a $7.5 million contract to evaluate the sites – shows that all jail projects may have potentially significant adverse impacts on socioeconomic conditions, historic and cultural resources, hazardous materials, water and sewer infrastructure, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, and public health.
Not only are all jails toxic to our environment and neighborhoods, jails are toxic to our communities! As part of the CEQR, the City has announced the following public hearing series. Mark the dates and plan to mobilize in your borough:
Borough of Brooklyn, September 20, 2018, 6:00 PM
P.S. 133 William A. Butler School
610 Baltic Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Borough of Queens, September 26, 2018, 6:00 PM
Queens Borough Hall
120-55 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY 11424
Borough of Manhattan, September 27, 2018, 6:00 PM
Manhattan Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007
Borough of Bronx, October 3, 2018, 6:00 PM
Bronx County Courthouse
851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451