City Officials Take First Steps In Closing Down Rikers Island Prison
The first steps to shuttering Rikers Island involves closing a facility that houses 600 men at the jail site which will take place this summer.
600 detainees and the staff at the George Motchan Detention Center will be transferred to others sites, according to New York city officials who are beginning to take steps in closing Rikers Island. The move will not result in a layoff of officers, said the Department of Correction, but it would help reduce exorbitant overtime costs.
All this comes as New York City plans to close the controversial prison for good. “This announcement is an important step in our plan to close Rikers Island and create more community-based facilities to better serve people in custody and our hard-working correctional staff,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
GMCD’s closure was made possible by a reduction in the city’s jails population to levels not seen since 1982 — hitting 8,705 as of Jan. 1. De Blasio also said the population needs to be reduced to 5,000 before the city can move detainees off Rikers Island to community-based facilities in each borough.
According to the mayor, Staten Island won’t be required to house any inmates.
Current borough-based facilities can only house 2,300 detainees, so the city has started the process to site and construct new jails. The mayor also introduced a number of alternative-to-incarceration programs to divert individuals awaiting trial for low-level crimes away from the jails system. With critics calling for Rikers to be closed sooner than a decade of what the mayor hopes for, this is a good step in ending the horrific place known as Rikers Island.
Source: New York Post