Reiterates Strong Support for Closing Rikers, Reform and Borough-Based Jails

QUEENS, NY – Queens Borough President Melinda Katz today issued her recommendations to disapprove the four related Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) applications in connection with the city’s proposed borough-based jail at 126-02 82nd Avenue in Kew Gardens.

In her recommendations, Borough President Katz emphatically stated that Rikers Island is an inhumane and dangerous facility that must be closed, while emphasizing her support for borough-based jails that keep individuals closer to their homes, families and support structures.

Borough President Katz, however, expressed serious concerns over how the Administration conceived the borough-based jail proposal in its present form, specifically citing a glaring lack of meaningful community involvement in the planning process, as well as the needlessness of a 1,500-bed jail anywhere in Queens while aggressive decarceration efforts to significantly reduce the jail population are underway.

“Closing Rikers Island is a moral imperative in our push to create a dignified, proactive criminal justice system with safe and humane facilities that keep people closer to their families and support structures in their communities. But building massive incarceration facilities that will only replicate the horrific conditions on Rikers Island in direct contradiction to the decarceration reforms already being undertaken is deeply unfair and counterproductive,” said Borough President KATZ. “Reforming our city’s jails system is too critical a mission to take on without adequate community engagement or proper planning, as we must strive to avoid recreating the same atmosphere of violence and dehumanization found on Rikers Island upon four new facilities in neighborhoods across the city.”

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