• November 11, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

That risky Rikers closure

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:25 pm, Thu Oct 24, 2019.

As you read this, the city is about to embark upon its next great experiment in criminal justice, jail decentralization, a key part of its mission to reverse many of the policies that have driven down crime for the last three decades.

When crime was at its peak, the focus was mostly on getting bad guys off the street for as long as possible. That worked, so with crime now at historic lows, many officials have adopted new beliefs: that the system is too hard on the accused and radical changes are needed to make it fair.

One of the changes is to close Rikers Island and build new jails in four of the five boroughs, including one in Kew Gardens. The City Council is expected to OK the plan today, Oct. 17.

The idea is mostly to make life easier on the inmates, keeping them closer to their families and lawyers, so they’re more likely to see the error of their ways and reform. And of course the officials behind the move point out that many people who are locked up haven’t been convicted, implying that they’re innocent. Sure, some are. And others are people who get locked up again and again and again, like the guy who allegedly killed the homeless people in Chinatown.

Then there’s the guy who allegedly picked up a 6-year-old kid in Kew Gardens and slammed his head onto the pavement, causing a brain hemorrhage. He had been freed without bail in January after alleging throwing a chair at a woman in a restaurant — and missed his court date. Shocker.

If you wonder whether moving people accused of crimes from a virtually inescapable island to a place like Kew Gardens is a good idea, you’re not alone. And if you think unhinged people charged with violent crimes should be locked up until trial, just wait for the next “reform” that’s coming: eliminating bail for dozens of crimes, many violent. Sadly enough, one is aggravated assault upon a person less than 11 years old.

The Rikers closure plan, in fact, depends upon reducing the jail population by releasing many people who up until now would have been held. We’re not betting this will play out very well.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Buster57 posted at 5:54 pm on Thu, Oct 17, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    This is so stupid and DANGEROUS! God forbid someone I know gets hurt due to this insanity, I will sue the city till they go broke. There is NOTHING wrong with Rikers Island. RENOVATE it. And why no prison in Staten Island? All this so prisoners are closer to their relatives? SERIOUSLY??? This city will be overrun with criminals in no time.