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NYC to shut TWO jails due to ‘reduction in prison population’

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Notorious Manhattan jail known as ‘The Tombs’ will be shut down along with a jail on Rikers Island because NYC officials project ‘reduction in jail population’ without explaining why – despite surging crime in the city amid the pandemic

  • The Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan and the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island will both close next month
  • Combined, the prisons house more than 750 inmates; the criminals will be transferred to other jails across the city 
  • The NYC Department of Corrections says ‘a significant reduction in the city’s current and projected prison populations’  sparked the decision 
  • A corrections officers’ union called the decision ‘reckless’ because prisoners will now have to be squeezed into other facilities  amid the COVID-19 pandemic

By Andrew Court For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

Two New York jails will be closed by the end of next month, with the Department of Corrections citing ‘a significant reduction in the city’s current and projected prison populations’. 

The surprising news was announced Friday, as the Big Apple continues to suffer from a shocking uptick in violent crime. Last month, shootings were up 127 percent when compared with the same time last year, while murders soared by 79 percent. 

The Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan, also known as ‘The Tombs’ – will close after being in operation for close to 200 years. 

The notorious prison first opened back in the 1830s, and was even the referenced in a Charles Dickens 1842 travelogue American Notes. 

The Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan, also known as ‘The Tombs’, is one of two NYC jails set to close next month. The Tombs has been in operation for close to 200 years

The famous authored decried the ‘indecent and disgusting’ cells, saying they ‘brought disgrace’ upon the United States. 

The Tombs currently houses 434 inmates, all of whom will be transferred to other prisons in the city. 

Meanwhile, the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island will also be shuttered. 

The jail is one of 10 prisons on the island, located in the waters between Queens and The Bronx. 

Otis Bantum is currently home to 329 prisoners. 

Meanwhile, the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island will also be shuttered. The jail is one of 10 prisons on the island, located in the waters between Queens and The Bronx (pictured)

The move comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio last year proposed closing the entirety of Rikers Island and build four smaller jails – one in Manhattan, one in Queens, one in Brooklyn, and one in The Bronx. 

That decision was blasted by council members, including Democrat Robert Holden, who stated at the time: ‘We should be putting more people behind bars — not less. 

‘By cutting the prison population down with these smaller jails, the city is setting a very dangerous precedent. To put more killers and rapists out in public is playing Russian roulette with people’s lives. 

More than 1,500 prisoners were released from NYC prisons earlier this year due to he coronavirus pandemic which spread through some jailhouse facilities.  

In a letter sent to staff on Friday, NYC Department of Corrections Commissioner  Cynthia Brann said the closure of The Tombs and Otis Bantum was part of a plan to shit down ‘older facilities that pose the most pressing administrative and structural problems.’

‘This will allow us to consolidate our efforts in better facilities, reduce overtime, expand training and programs, and continue investing in enhancing safety ‘consolidate our efforts in better facilities, reduce overtime, expand training and programs, and continue investing in enhancing safety,’ she wrote. 

More than 1,000 staffers will now be reassigned to other facilities and commands. 

The move has been blasted by Corrections Officers’ Benevolent Association, with a spokesperson telling The New York Post: ‘Today’s reckless announcement… would throw inmates and officers on top of those who are already in the other jails, increasing the density and compromising our ability to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 that has already emerged in Brooklyn and Queens’.

A view of the Manhattan Detention Complex. The building was last updated back in 1989, and is now set to close after nearly 200 years in operation 

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