Tell Your Story
The hearing allows the City Council to gather feedback on the plan from the public.
Can’t make it to the Hearing?
Submit your testimony online.
Tell us your thoughts about the plan to close Rikers Island.
Population at Rikers Island
The burden of being incarcerated disproportionately falls on people of color.
As of August 27, 2019, there were 7,110 people incarcerated in New York City.
The majority – 67% – were there pretrial, meaning they are presumed innocent.
Almost all are men, about 94%, and almost all are people of color, 89%.
People in Custody
Dept. of Correction Facilities, 2017-2019
People in Custody
Dept. of Correction Facilities
August 27, 2019
Pretrial (Presumed Innocent)
People in Custody: Detained or Sentenced
Dept. of Correction Facilities, June 2017 – June 2019
Movement Towards Closure
The movement to close Rikers Island gained significant momentum in 2016, when advocates who had spent time there began mobilizing.
On February 11, 2016, former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the creation of a commission to explore closing jail facilities on Rikers Island.
The Commission began its work in 2016, and released its report and recommendations in April of 2017.
The Commission unanimously concluded that jail facilities on Rikers Island should be closed, and in the following year announced that existing borough-based facilities should be modernized and made more humane as part of a borough-based system.
Where People in Custody on Rikers Island Live in NYC
By Zip Code, June 2017 – June 2019
Where We Are Now
Mayor Bill De Blasio has embraced the commission’s recommendations to close Rikers Island and create new borough-based jails.
His Administration is advancing plans to site four new jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
The public review process to seek the regulatory approvals for the four new jails started in March 2019, with Community Boards and Borough Presidents reviewing and voting on the project.
The City Planning Commission voted to approve the borough-based jails plan on September 3, after which the project is reviewed by the City Council.
The City Council has been listening to community and stakeholder feedback since 2016 and throughout the public review process, and will seek additional feedback at a public hearing on September 5, 2019, 10:00 AM, at City Hall, in Council Chambers.
The City Council will cast a final vote on the project in October 2019.