The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly—36-13—to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 and open four new borough-based facilities.
According to NPR, the $8 billion plan stipulates that the four new—or possibly expanded existing—jails are to be located in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.
The proposal was born out of the conclusion of Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats that mass incarceration and a massive jail complex are out of step in an era of falling crime rates.
Rikers—a complex of 10 jails on the East River—has received criticism for an alleged history of abuses of inmates. About 7,000 inmates are currently housed in Rikers each day, most of whom are awaiting trial.
Critics say that the closure of Rikers will put public safety at risk.