Regional Plan Association Statement on the Future of Rikers Island

“Regional Plan Association has been a strong proponent of the need to repurpose Rikers Island from an island of incarceration into a place which benefits all New Yorkers, and specifically address and redress its legacy of mass incarceration and those who have been directly affected by this legacy,” said Moses Gates, Vice President of Housing & Neighborhood Planning, Regional Plan Association. “The City of New York now needs to take significant and legally binding steps forward. There are several things that can be done immediately to use part of the island for better purpose, such as a new solar field which could provide job training to the formerly incarcerated, or a new park or a memorial open to the public. There are also steps the city could take to reduce the physical presence of jails, such as demolishing the empty George Motchan detention center on the island or decommissioning the Vernon C. Bain floating detention center in Hunts Point and opening more of the South Bronx waterfront to the community. The City could also immediately transfer jurisdiction from the Department of Correction to another, more appropriate, city agency.”