Elected officials & community rallied against ‘secret’ proposal to locate new 2,000 bed jail in Bronx neighborhood
BRONX, NY - State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Councilman Rafael Salamanca (D-Bronx) joined community leaders and residents today to rally against a “secret” proposal to develop a mini Rikers Island in the growing Hunts Point community.
Two weeks ago, plans to locate new jail facilities throughout the boroughs, including Hunts Point in The Bronx, were reported. The proposal detailed closing the Vernon C. Bain Center barge. Currently moored in the area, the barge already houses approximately 800 inmates.
The new proposal would introduce a 2,000-bed adult jail to the area - more than doubling the number of inmates housed in Hunts Point.
While the de Blasio administration at first denied any knowledge of plans to locate new jail facilities to replace Rikers in communities across the city, including Hunts Point, a detailed 18-page document outlining plans for the possible facility was later exposed.
“The Hunts Point community has worked hard to develop their area, and a secretive plan to bring a mini Rikers to the area is simply unacceptable. An exposed document is not how this community should learn about a proposal that will impact their day-to-day lives. The Hunts Point community has its own vision for business, housing and growth. This proposal puts their vision behind bars. We should be focusing on the best way to fix Rikers, rather than on blindsiding our neighborhoods, ” said Senator Klein.
“While I understand that we need to make strides in improving corrections infrastructure, primarily Rikers Island, the solution is not building a new facility in the South Bronx. I’m incredibly concerned that it took a leaked document provided to a newspaper for this community to learn about a proposal to place a possible jail in Hunts Point. Enough is enough. This neighborhood is making positive strides and already has had its fair share of these types of facilities. South Bronx families deserve better,” said Councilman Salamanca.
“Building jails is a bad idea because it does not fix the problem. Hunts Point is resurrecting itself from a dark past. The community is against it,” said Bronx Community Board 2 Chairman Dr. Iam Amritt.
The rally was also attended by Wanda Salaman of Mothers on the Move, Cedric McClester of the Forward South Bronx Coalition, and Maria Torres and Ralph Acevedo of Community Board 2.