The City has proposed closing Rikers Island and building new jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Staten Island is not included in this plan and it should be noted that Richmond County is the only country in the State of New York without a jail. 

The Boerum Hill Association, Brooklyn Heights Association, Cobble Hill Association along with some residents who represent buildings near the jail to were asked to meet for monthly discussions with Criminal Justice reform groups, City agencies and elected officials. This group is known as the Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC).
The meetings have been both contentious and productive. Unfortunately the City has moved into  Land Use process known as ULURP before all the stakeholders agree.
 
The Boerum Hill Association holds the following views: 
  • We support criminal justice reform and understand the moral imperative to close Rikers Island.
  • We oppose the current proposal for a 395 foot building with a capacity for 1430 beds.
  • We asked about a plan for an 800-bed, state-of-the-art facility, to see what shape and size would result. There was no response to this request.
  • If you believe you can significantly reduce the jail population then we must work toward that goal using many initiatives and not just four large jails.
  • We support State and City legislation to assure bail reform and we support full discovery.Remove the detainees with severe mental health issues and move them to an appropriate facility now and build more of these facilities (how many beds exist now? How any more can be added?) The mentally ill chemically addicted (MICA) should be housed in a therapeutic environment. This is a medical issue not a criminal one.
  • Do not certify a large building envelope during the ULURP process. Certify at an FAR of 8 -10 which is larger than the current 6 FAR and much less than the 17.8 proposed by the City. The proposal is out-of-scale with nearby buildings and the residential community.
  • We do not believe a mega-jail will serve the Criminal Justice goals. Due to its large size and population Brooklyn should have at least two jails.
  • In summary, we appreciate the effort to address off-street parking and the offer of a community space on the first floor, however can not support the scope, scale and bulk of the proposed new Brooklyn jail. We are not opposed to a new jail but we are opposed to a Skyscraper of Detention.
Read, Boerum Hill resident, Justin Pollack's analysis which includes a cross-section of an earlier jail plan. As stated above, the height has been reduced to 395 feet.
 
Also read this article from the Marshall Project, a non-profit publication about criminal justice reform. It dramatically draws the new building in context.
 
The Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, has announced his plan called Justice 2020. (Screen down the page to read the press release). This is a series of intiatives that will establish his office as a national model for a progressive prosecutor's office. Many of these initatives are key steps toward reducing the jail population.