New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed his plan to close Rikers Island prison, and it appears to involve getting rid of 4,000 inmates.
De Blasio has long planned to close the prison, but he announced Wednesday that the city plans to move the inmates to four separate facilities, three of which are under renovation, the New York Post reported. Those facilities will house a total of 5,000 inmates once the renovations are complete, but Rikers Island currently houses just under 9,000.
“This agreement marks a huge step forward on our path to closing Rikers Island,” de Blasio said in a statement. “In partnership with the City Council, we can now move ahead with creating a borough-based jail system that’s smaller, safer and fairer.”
One copy of De Blasio’s plan calls for reducing the jail’s population by 25 percent over the next five years, which would result in a population of roughly 6,750. Another, however, calls for the population to be reduced to 5,000, which would match up with Wednesday’s transfer plan. Both plans would reduce population by emphasizing re-entry efforts to shorten sentences for certain crimes.
The sites under renovation are the Manhattan Detention Center, the Brooklyn Detention Center, and the Queens Detention Center. De Blasio’s announcement comes days after a Rikers jail guard was assaulted and beaten by a group of inmates. The four inmates left the guard, 39-year-old Jean Souffrant, with a broken spine and bleeding brain.
Video of the attack shows an inmate punching Souffrant in the face. He then falls, and several other inmates begin kicking him before other guards pepper spray them, NBC New York reported.
The four inmates, Steven Espinal, Samson Walston, Nazeem Francis, and David Burns, were all arraigned in court Monday. All four pleaded not guilty.
The New York City Department of Corrections did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication.
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