Mayor Eric Adams dropped quite a bombshell at City Hall on Tuesday, suggesting a possible second chance for the troubled prison.
"Those who are on Rikers now, because of bail reform and because of other reforms, you really have to do something bad to go to Rikers," he said. "Are we as a city, willing to say that 2,000 extremely dangerous people, we're going to turn them back to the streets. I'm not ready to say that."
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed to shut down Rikers by 2027, but now the current mayor wants City Council to reconsider, given the astronomical costs of shutting down the huge incarceration center, then spending billions more to build neighborhood prisons in four out of the five boroughs.
Projections are that those new prisons will be way over budget and way too small by the time they're finished.
"We have to remain safe as a city," Adams said. "As the plan currently stands, there's a question, that is this a good public safety decision?"
Chinatown has been fighting against building the world's tallest prison in the small ethnic community which has been crushed by COVID and anti-Asian attacks.
"It's trying to destroy Chinatown's original flavor, social structure, which I really resent," Chinatown worker Yuan Deng.
"The community has been protesting, organizing, we've filed filed multiple lawsuits, the community board has been against it," City Councilman Christopher Marte said.
Adding to the confusion over Rikers, there is movement for the federal government to take over the troubled facility.
As that is winds its way through court, the future of these expensive, unwanted new borough prisons remains uncertain.
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