In the spring of 2017, the City committed to closing the jails on Rikers Island by creating a network of four modern, more humane jail facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. This smaller borough-based jail system, built upon a foundation of dignity and respect, will house a jail population of no more than 3,300 people, reflecting the reality that both historic crime rates and the impulse to jail our way to public safety have continued to fall off.
The borough-based system will strengthen connections to families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, and faith and community-based organizations. Being closer to home and transit will enhance the network of support systems for people who are detained and help prevent reincarceration.
The new facilities will be designed to foster safety and wellbeing for both those incarcerated and for staff, providing space for quality education, health, and therapeutic programming. Modern facilities can also serve as a catalyst for positive change in the community and the broader justice system.
New York City is reimagining its jails as civic assets that will provide a better life for those who are detained and work in them, support smoother transitions back home, and serve as resources for the community.
The City’s overarching goals for all component projects undertaken as part of the Borough-Based Jails Program (BBJ Program), including new detention facilities and Early Works, such as dismantle and swing space projects, are described below.