Council members in New York City, came to a mutual consensus to shut down the Rikers Island Jail on Rikers Island, an island in the East River between Queens and Bronx. The decision came after it came to light that the jail complex was plagued by violence and neglect. The authorities plan to replace the notorious jail with 4 smaller ones with the intention of making it suitable for inmates in accordance with modern times.
The session witnessed 36-13 votes in favour of replacing it four smaller ones that will be closer to main courts in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens as Rikers jail will shut down by 2026.
Corey Johnson, the City council speaker, stated that the notorious complex is a reflection of inhumane activities and has been subject to violence for a really long time now. He added that it is their responsibility to discard and move away from failed policies in relation to the concerned problem.
Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the Democrats are in favour of the arrangement, which has been tagged at a price of more than $8 billion, partially because of a notion that in a time of declining crime rates, correctional facilities have been part of the problem rather than act as an immediate solution.
During the session, council members talked about the importance of taking such a decision in relation to two deaths that took place within the premises of the complex. One was Kalief Browder, a 22-year-old man, who committed suicide after being a part of the jail and Layleen Polanco, who was found dead in her own jail cell in the month of June.
The arrangement calls for moving inmates awaiting trials to four new prisons in every city district with the exception of Staten Island, making it simpler for the inmates to get visits from legal counsellors and relatives who will not have to make a long trip to Rikers Island.
The voting session was subject to criticism by activists who stated that if the new jail complexes are built, they will also be filled but the concerned authorities stated that with a declining jail population, it became easier for them to close down Rikers.
JoAnne Page, president of the Fortune society, a society that lends support to former convicts, stated that she was well aware of what the Rikers Island jail did to people and was happy that after several years of taking a step back, the concerned authorities have acknowledged the gravity of the situation are now moving in the right direction.