A notorious New York City jail that has housed such names as Tupac Shakur, Sid Vicious, Sonny Rollins and Lil Wayne is being shuttered.
Rikers Island will be shuttered by 2026 after the City Council of New York voted 36-13 today in favor of establishing smaller jails spread across the city.
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Under the $8 billion plan, the jails will be located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, closer to existing courthouses. About 7,000 inmates are now housed in the jail, down from a high of 22,000 in 1991. Falling crime rates mean Rikers Island’s huge facility is no longer needed.
“What we are doing today will reshape the city for generations to come and impact the lives of every New Yorker,” said City Council speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday. “For decades, our city was unfair to those who became involved in the justice system, and the overwhelmingly majority who were caught up were black and brown men.”
The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association and residents who will be affected by the new jails have voiced concerns.
Rikers is a complex of 10 mails on an island between Queens and the Bronx. It houses inmates awaiting trial and has a reputation for violence and inhumane conditions. The jail has been referenced in such TV shows as Law & Order and Daredevil, plus the Ken Burns documentary film The Central Park Five and The Punisher, among many other film and television productions.