Boerum Hill

With closure imminent, city to stop admitting new detainees to Brooklyn jail

November 25, 2019 Noah Goldberg
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With plans to close the facility by the end of January, Brooklyn’s city jail will stop admitting new detainees in the next few weeks, the Brooklyn Eagle has learned.

The Brooklyn Detention Complex, which currently houses around 400 city prisoners, will be shuttered by the end of January 2020 as part of the city’s plan to close the jail complex at Rikers Island by 2026. A new, much larger, jail will be built at the site of the current Brooklyn Detention Complex.

“While we are still finalizing the operational details of the closure, stopping intake at [the Brooklyn Detention Complex] will be one of the initial steps in the closure process,” said Department of Correction Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Peter Thorne.

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DOC did not provide the Eagle with an exact date, but said new admissions would cease “within the next few weeks.”

Ahead of the January 2020 closure, many of the approximately 400 detainees currently at the Boerum Hill jail will be moved to other facilities across the boroughs, including the Manhattan Detention Complex. Detainees are also expected to be held at Rikers Island and the Barge, the floating jail in the Bronx, during the years where the borough-based jails are under construction. The number should be smaller by January 2020 as detainees move through the justice system. Most at the facility are awaiting trial.

The Brooklyn jail has recently struggled with overheating in the summer and frigid temperatures in the winter. It also has had the highest spike in violent use of force incidents by DOC staff against incarcerated people of any jail in the city since 2015.

Brooklyn Detention Complex. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Detention Complex. Photo: Rob Abruzzese/Brooklyn Eagle

The borough-based jail plan passed a City Council vote on Oct. 17, paving the way for the city to shutter the Brooklyn facility by early 2020.

The city’s jailed population has now dropped below 7,000, the de Blasio administration announced last week, continuing historic declines the city said were necessary to facilitate the closure of Rikers Island. The administration expects the jailed population to drop to 3,300 by 2026.

The new Brooklyn Detention Complex is slated to hold 885 beds, with a max capacity of no more than 825 people. The current facility houses up to 759 people.

“These two closures show that we are making good on our promise to close Rikers Island and create a correctional system that is fundamentally smaller, safer and fairer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement last week about the closure of the Brooklyn jail and the Eric M. Taylor Center, a jail on Rikers Island.

The closures will lower the city’s number of jails from 11 to nine. Seven of those jails are on Rikers Island.

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  1. Me freeze

    Doesn’t make sense that means that detainees will be transported instead of walking Through the tunnel or a short shuttle to Supreme Court. How stupid is that and the weather was never a factor because of that .