New York is leading a historic decarceration plan. Our plan is to close Rikers Island and replace it with a smaller network of modern jails.

The plan to close Rikers Island and build a borough-based jail system is
guided by three basic principles and was shaped by valued input from the community:


The City’s plan to close the jails on Rikers Island will dramatically shrink the jail system in New York City. Through this plan, the City will:

Safer and Fairer

The jails on Rikers Island and the current borough facilities were designed in a different era and do not meet the City’s justice goals. The new facilities will have:

This plan will not be easy. Historically, community, land use requirements, and the high cost of acquiring and developing new land have prevented the City from siting new jails or even expanding existing jails. And it will not be fast. We estimate it will take at least a decade. In order to achieve our goal, we must have a jail population that is small enough to be housed safely off Rikers Island. On an average day in 2017, there were a total of approximately 9,400 people incarcerated in city jails with space for just 2,300 people in existing facilities in the boroughs. To close Rikers and replace it with a new, smaller network of jails, we will have to continue to bring the jail population down while ensuring that we sustain the City’s historically low crime rate – which is down 76% from 1990.

We believe these obstacles are surmountable. And we are committed to the transparent partnership with New Yorkers across the city and with government, including the City Council and the State, required to close Rikers Island for good.

Download the complete report for our plan to create a correctional system with a smaller jail population, safer facilities, and fairer culture inside.

Major milestones in the plan to close Rikers Island:


Smaller, Safer, Fairer: A Roadmap to closing Rikers Island Download