City axes Brooklyn ‘jail with retail’ expansion

Brooklyn House of Detention

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Downtown Brooklyn’s ‘jail with retail’ proposal is now officially dead, but the city is planning to reopen the shuttered facility despite dropping plans for its expansion, according to the New York Times. The $240 million redevelopment of Atlantic Avenue’s 759-bed Brooklyn House of Detention, which has been closed since 2003, would have doubled the size of the jail and added retail on the ground floor in an attempt to appease uneasy neighbors. Instead, minor repairs on the current structure will begin immediately in preparation for its reopening, part of a scaled-down $660 million overhaul of the city’s jail system, including the demolition of rundown buildings at Rikers Island, the construction of a new building there, and the reopening of a 467-bed jail in Kew Gardens, Queens. The projects are slated for completion by 2017 and will give the Department of Corrections the capacity to house 16,500 inmates, down from the current 19,400 it can accommodate. Commissioner Dora Schriro said the smaller capacity is plenty, however, since the average daily inmate population has been on a steady decline. [NYT]