Our plan is to close Rikers Island and replace it with a smaller network of modern jails.
Our goal is a jail system that is smaller, safer, and fairer – one consistent with the overall criminal justice system we are building in New York City, in which crime continues to fall, the jail population drops significantly, and all New Yorkers are treated with dignity. Our newer system of jails will be focused on helping those incarcerated find a better path in life and maintain access to community supports. And it will ensure that officers have safer places to work and more support.
This website includes a credible path toward these goals.
This plan will not be easy. Historically, community opposition, 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: