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 sites 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 facillities 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 Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is awarding separate Design-Build contracts for each of the four new facilities, as well as early works packages at all four facilities, resulting in a total of nine contracts:

  • The Bronx: facility preparation contract, and new facility contract
  • Brooklyn: dismantle/interim sally port contract, and new facility contract
  • Manhattan: dismantle/interim sally port contract, and new facility contract
  • Queens: parking garage and community space contract, dismantle/interim sally port contract, and new facility contract

The interim sally ports are necessary to facilitate NYC Department of Correction’s transfers for court appearances during construction.



Borough-Based Site Design Principles & Guidelines

Program Goals

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.

  1. The design and construction of the new Facilities must be grounded in dignity and respect through offering spaces dedicated to promoting better connections to families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, education, therapeutic programming, and service providers. These Facilities must enable effective and tailored programming, provide appropriate housing for those with medical and mental health needs, and facilitate enhanced opportunities for stable reentry into the community.
  2. The design and construction of the new Facilities and related projects of the BBJ Program must provide a safe, humane, secure, and efficient environment for all those who work, visit, or are in custody within these Facilities.
  3. The design and construction of the new Facilities and related projects must be beacons of exemplary public architecture that thoughtfully respond to the urban context, contribute positively to the character of the surrounding neighborhood and streetscape, and serve as civic assets for all New Yorkers. Refer to the Center for Active Design’s Civic Design Guidelines, on creating well-designed public spaces.
  4. The design and construction of the new Facilities must strive to relate to the city it is in and create a sense of place for the citizens it serves. As good civic architecture, the Facilities must be welcoming and inclusive, serving all regardless of ability, race, creed, or gender. The Facilities must embody a generative spirit that does not stagnate on a fixed identity and is uplifting rather than authoritative, empowering the people and community it serves.
  5. The provision of exceptional design based on thoughtful engagement with City agencies and community partners.
  6. The construction and related operations must minimize impacts to neighboring properties, facilities and the community at large; achieve dust and noise mitigation standards that exceed minimum regulatory thresholds.
  7. The provision of facility safety in and around all Project sites.
  8. The optimization of overall operations and maintenance efficiency.
  9. Project completion is within budget and on schedule.
  10. Proactively seek out innovative solutions to accelerate the Project schedule while controlling cost and maintaining quality and safety.
  11. The provision of robust minority- and women-owned business enterprise participation.
  12. The exemplification of the City’s principles of Project Excellence, including excellence in design, construction, and project delivery.


Facility Links