DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Community Board 2 (CB2) convened on Wednesday, June 12th, to discuss and vote on their new recommendation for the 275 Atlantic Avenue jail. The jail is part of a four-jail system proposed by the city, created in part to shrink and eventually close the Rikers Island Correctional Center. The Board voted against the jail on May 10th, but provided a new, detailed report on the measures the city would have to take to receive a ‘yes’ vote on Wednesday.
The city’s proposal for the jail has been controversial, with activists attending previous Community Board meetings en masse. The stance of CB2 contrasts strikingly with the city’s plan – they recommend a capacity of 875 beds, just over half of the city’s planned 1,437 bed.
In the new report, CB2 outlined a lengthy list of recommendations and conditions under which CB2 would vote in favor of the city’s jail plan, though its role is solely advisory. Board members emphasized the necessity of mental health, violence, and sexual assault support for incarcerated individuals, as well as an improved workplace environment for correctional officers and a new training facility for officers. They emphasized efforts to improve community re-entry and to combat recidivism.
The CB2 also referenced a number of alternative methods of justice, including the expansion of community courts like the Red Hook Community Justice Center, which, unconventionally, provides a single judge for civil, family, and criminal cases. The report also references recent reform in bail law, and that the jail should work in tandem with this recent legislation.
Finally, the report emphasized that the justice system extends beyond the reaches of the jail alone. It recommended that, in order to shrink jail populations, investments in community education and housing must be made.
The motion to oppose the jail under these conditions passed with 34 in favor, two opposed, and four abstaining.
The next meeting in the ULURP process for the jail is on July 10th, at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the Upper West Side, and will be hosted by the City Planning Commission.