NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In announcing plans to close Rikers Island, the city has proposed new jails in all the New York City boroughs except Staten Island.
But as WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, the plan is not without controversy.
When Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for a Concord Avenue jail in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was stunned.
Diaz said he was never consulted.
“We could have come to some type of agreement and find a site that could have been much more palatable, but we never got the opportunity to be a part of the conversation,” Diaz said. “That’s unacceptable.”
Diaz said the issue is not one of “not in my backyard.”
“So you’re making decisions about our backyard without consulting those of us who live here,” he said.
Diaz said he believes there might be a better location than the Mott Haven site, and he is hoping to have a conversation.
Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday said lawmakers have agreed to a single public review process for four proposed sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens that will include space for 5,000 detainees.
De Blasio called it “a huge step forward on our path to closing Rikers Island.” The mayor announced last March that he intended to close the complex, saying it will take a decade.
“We also need the state to address the fact that it has hundreds of its parolees in our jail system,” de Blasio said. “The state needs to take responsibility for those individuals and get them off Rikers to relieve the burden.”
Following his complaints, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson apologized to Diaz, saying “we have to do a better job keeping him in the loop.”