PETITION: Close Rikers Without Building New Jails in NYC

New York City Council

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Background: How the Call to Close Rikers Island Became a Plan to Build Four More Jails

After years of mounting pressure – including investigations by New York State, the U.S. Department of Justice, several class action settlements, and the experiences of incarcerated individuals and their loved ones all revealing a deeply entrenched “culture of violence” on Rikers – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, in spring 2017, a 10-year plan to close the jails on Rikers Island by building another system of jails. The expected cost for the new jails plan exceeds $10 billion and is not projected to be completed until 2026. The plan would result in just under 6,000 new cages for humans in four massive new jails. The plan does not require New York City to close Rikers after the new jails are built, effectively expanding NYC’s jail system far into the future. And we know: If they build it, they will fill it.

To avoid public opposition, Mayor de Blasio has manipulated the political process to bypass any real community input on building new jails. Instead, the only political decision that remains is whether to rezone the four selected NYC locations to build jails nearly 50-stories tall – the tallest jails in the world. This summer and early fall, the New York City Planning Commission and City Council will vote on the land-use proposal for the jails plan. If they vote yes, construction on the jails could begin in 2020. The Mayor’s Office has already set aside money for new jail construction in the city’s budget.

Call to Action: #NoNewJailsNYC

Join us in opposing the Mayor’s borough-based jail expansion plan. Nearly 80% of the people in NYC jails are just awaiting trial and have not been convicted of any crime. Like the four new jails, Rikers was also originally described as “humane,” “rehabilitative,” “modern,” or “safe” but as has been revealed, all jails perpetuate violence for individuals, their families, their communities, and NYC overall. Just like de Blasio, early reformers called Rikers “the most perfect prison in the world“ when it was planned. Instead of committing NYC to a future of incarceration, we can invest billions into our communities and close every jail on Rikers – without opening new jail complexes anywhere in NYC.

Sign the Petition If You Agree

City Council must vote ‘NO’ on rezoning for this jail expansion plan. Mayor Bill de Blasio can and must commit NYC to closing Rikers while building no new jails.

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No New Jails NYC is a multiracial, intergenerational network of residents, community members, and activists fighting against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s oppressive and violent jail expansion plan. We are calling for the immediate and expedient closure of Rikers without building new jails in any borough in New York City. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NoNewJails_NYC.


Petition by
No New Jails NYC
New York, New York

To: New York City Council
From: [Your Name]

You must vote ‘NO’ on rezoning for this jail expansion plan. Mayor Bill de Blasio can and must commit NYC to closing Rikers while building no new jails.

After years of mounting pressure – including investigations by New York State, the U.S. Department of Justice, several class action settlements, and the experiences of incarcerated individuals and their loved ones all revealing a deeply entrenched “culture of violence” on Rikers – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, in spring 2017, a 10-year plan to close the jails on Rikers Island by building another system of jails. The expected cost for the new jails plan exceeds $10 billion and is not projected to be completed until 2026. The plan would result in just under 6,000 new cages for humans in four massive new jails. The plan does not require New York City to close Rikers after the new jails are built, effectively expanding NYC’s jail system far into the future. And we know: If they build it, they will fill it.

To avoid public opposition, Mayor de Blasio has manipulated the political process to bypass any real community input on building new jails. Instead, the only political decision that remains is whether to rezone the four selected NYC locations to build jails nearly 50-stories tall – the tallest jails in the world. This summer and early fall, the New York City Planning Commission and City Council will vote on the land-use proposal for the jails plan. If they vote yes, construction on the jails could begin in 2020. The Mayor’s Office has already set aside money for new jail construction in the city’s budget.

Sincerely,
No New Jails