Plan to replace Rikers with borough-based jails delayed because of COVID-19 pandemic

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Rikers Island

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NEW YORK — New York City has been forced to move back the timetable on the Rikers Island jail facility closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The city was scheduled to switch over from Rikers to community-based jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens in 2026. Instead, it’s now set to happen in 2027, according to a Monday presentation from City Planning Commission.

“The City’s commitment to closing the jails on Rikers Island has not wavered,” Colby Hamilton, a spokesperson with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said. “The completion of new, modern facilities closer to communities and families will remain within the 10-year time frame established by Mayor Bill de Blasio. We will continue working diligently to achieve this goal shared by New Yorkers.”

The cornavirus pandemic hasn’t been the only setback for the Rikers plan. A judge recently blocked New York City’s plan for a Lower Manhattan jail.

New Yorkers across the city have fought plans to build jails in their communities.

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