City Council Votes to Close Rikers and Build New Borough-Based Jails. Here’s How Brooklyn Council Members Voted

Rikers Island. Image via US Geological Survey

The New York City Council voted on Thursday to close the jails on Rikers Island and replace them with new “borough-based jails,” including one in Boerum Hill. The massive, controversial plan will cost about $8.7 billion over the next decade.

The new jail in Boerum Hill will stand at 295 feet tall and will hold 885 beds, with an expected maximum population of 825 inmates at any given time. That jail will replace the current Brooklyn House of Detention, which will be demolished and replaced with the new facility. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson took time out of his remarks on the floor of the council to single out the current Brooklyn jail, which he said does not have air conditioning and is not an acceptable place to incarcerate people. The city plans to lower the incarcerated population citywide to 3,300 by 2026, less than half of the current population of about 7,000.

Closing Rikers and building the borough-based jails has been controversial on multiple fronts. On one side, many were not thrilled about depopulating Rikers, lowering the city’s jail population, and building massive jails within their neighborhoods. On the other side, activists decried building new jails to replace Rikers, with many adopting the call of “no new jails.”

Below, you can see how every council member representing a district in Brooklyn voted on the plan. Council Members Rafael Espinal, Carlos Menchaca, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, and Inez Barron voted no as a result of the large investment in jails instead of within communities impacted by mass incarceration. Council Members Kalman Yeger and Chaim Deutsch did not explain their no votes.

 

Steve Levin, District 33: Yes

Antonio Reynoso, District 34: Yes

Laurie Cumbo, District 35: Yes

Robert Cornegy, District 36: Yes

Rafael Espinal, District 37: No

Carlos Menchaca, District 38: No

Brad Lander, District 39: Yes

Mathieu Eugene, District 40: Yes

Alicka Ampry-Samuel, District 41: No

Inez Barron, District 42: No

Justin Brannan, District 43: Yes

Kalman Yeger, District 44: No

Farah Louis, District 45: Yes

Alan Maisel, District 46: Not present

Mark Treyger, District 47: Yes

Chaim Deutsch, District 48: No

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Ben Brachfeld

Ben Brachfeld

Ben Brachfeld is a freelance reporter based in Brooklyn. His work has also appeared in Gotham Gazette, City & State, and Gothamist. Reach out to him via email at benbrachfeld@bklyner.com, or on Twitter @benbrachfeld.

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