NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — While Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to shut down Rikers Island, he disagrees with a report suggesting that to do that, new jails should be built in all five boroughs.
“My view is, I can’t speak for the City Council, but I have no intention of opening a jail in Staten Island, because again, I think we need the fewest facilities possible,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio added that he knows some inmates come from Staten Island, and added that Staten Island does play a strategic role in the plan to get the jail complex off Rikers Island.
A 148-page report released Sunday outlines plans for replacing the city’s main jail with smaller community jails in the city’s five boroughs. The five new facilities would be near county courthouses and the city said they would be smaller, safer and more humane.
Retired New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman chairs the Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform that released the report.
“We know what modern jails should look like, and they look nothing like Rikers Island,” he said at a Sunday press conference at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.
CLICK HERE to read the commission’s full report.
Closing the infamous penitentiary requires cutting the city’s prison population almost in half — to around 5,000 inmates — using bail reform, new sentencing procedures, and other strategies.
On a separate issue, Mayor de Blasio also reminded subway riders Monday that the city has the strongest counterterror capacity of any police force in America.
He said people may see officers with long guns and dogs in the subway system, and that should be reassuring.
“The message is that we are prepared for any eventuality, but again, this is shared responsibility,” said police Commissioner James O’Neill. “Everybody has to take a look at what’s going on around them, and if they see something that makes them uncomfortable, they need to make affirmative steps to make a call to 911, flag a cop, stop down a cop and let them properly investigate it.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)