Brooklyn On 40-Story Jail: 'If You Build It They Will Fill It

Brooklynites are furious with city plans to increase capacity of a local jail as lawmakers work to decrease the city's inmate population.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK -- Brooklyn residents detailed horror stories of life inside Rikers Island during a fraught public hearing Thursday night to discuss Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans to shut down the jail complex and replace it with four, larger borough-based prisons. 

Dozens of locals took to the microphone to present a unified message that the 40-story, 1,437-bed jail proposed for 275 Atlantic Ave. was much too big for a city actively working to cut down its population of incarcerated people. 

"If you build it, they will fill it," the crowd chanted between speakers. This message was echoed by City Councilman Stephen Levin, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon and state Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

"We're asking for real reform not just brick and mortar," Montgomery told representatives from the Mayor's administration. 

"The least you can do is create a plan that includes some reform on how you treat people."

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