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In recent news, New York City Council voted intensively to close down the Rikers Island jail complex, and in return open up smaller jail facilities within four of the five boroughs. CBS states the new jails would only contain a total of 3,300 beds- compared to a current population of roughly 7,200 inmates. This $8.7 billion plan will take effect in 2026 according to CBS News, and the country’s largest jail facility will be only a distressing memory.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson says “Today is a day that the history books will look back on as a good day for New York City,” “This is a step forward, this is progress, this is the right thing to do.”
Rikers Island has been the representation of mass incarceration and perpetuated the injustice of minorities like African Americans and Hispanics for decades. The Atlantic states “they lack the necessary $500 or less to make bail. In some cases, for-profit bail bond companies exploit the desperation of poor families; in many others, people who can’t pay go straight to jail, which in New York City costs $247,000 per person, annually.”
The new plan has been gaining a large amount of attention, even though many activists agree with the decision, there are still a few people that are worried and oppose of the idea about housing inmates in residential neighborhoods.