State officials say Rikers Island should close sooner


The deal between de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson, a fellow Democrat, calls for housing 5,000 inmates in smaller jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

The report was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislator on Wednesday. The Bronx will be the only borough to get a newly built jail, and Staten Island, where de Blasio said a year ago that he has "no intention" of opening a jail, won't be getting a facility. The commission, which has delivered its findings to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, has labeled Rikers as one of five "worst offenders" in the state, and details inmate deaths, escape attempts, fires, and conditions that are "unsecure, unsanitary and unsafe, for staff and inmates alike".

The Commission recommended the closure of Rikers to ensure that the constitutional rights of inmates and protection of staff members.

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Correction officer Jean Souffrant suffered a broken spine after being attacked by a group of Rikers inmates. The sprawling complex continues to be plagued by failures in management and regulatory compliance, the commission's report said.

"This agreement marks a huge step forward on our path to closing Rikers Island", de Blasio said in a statement. Still, his 10-year timeline may not be fast enough for some.

"If the governor and the Legislature want to help us close Rikers more quickly, they have the power to do so", he said.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is announcing plans for new jails to replace Rikers, but the state says the city is doing such a terrible job with it they may take it over and close it themselves. "And so now they carry out this assault, they go to court, they get bumped up in leverage in their street gang, and then they go back to the facility and get their iPad and their $25 stipend", Adams said.

The Brooklyn Detention Center located at 275 Atlantic Avenue is among three existing Department of Corrections facilities slated for expansion/renovation (the two others are in Manhattan and Queens) while a new facility is planned for the Bronx.

Under the City Council's new leadership, de Blasio said he was confident the city could close Rikers ahead of the original 10 year timeline.

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The problems the commission found at the four upstate jails include inmate escapes, obsolete facilities, guard posts left unstaffed and overcrowding.