For a long time, the City of New York has search for the perfect solution to Jail Reform and a solution to Rikers Island. In a City like New York, Balance to what we do is Key to the Solutions to our problems. Rikers Island & LaGuardia Airport is the Perfect Match or simply the Balance NYC needs.
In this BLUEPRINT, We are proposing the sharing of Rikers Island & LaGuardia Airport.
Why not stay on Rikers and transform it into a beacon, showing the rest of the world how reducing recidivism, rehabilitation, and ending generational incarceration can look if done correctly.
New York City is no stranger to these kinds of advancements. It is worth noting similar advancements were made on Roosevelt Island, when known as Blackwell Island over 70 years ago. Turning the tarnished island and ruins of dilapidated jail facilities, mental asylums, and alehouses into today's Roosevelt Island.
THERE'S SOMETHING IN A NAME!
Reimagining & Rebuilding the island are not the only elements that must change. A new name gives us the opportunity to start with a NEW VISION on jail reform. A vision that aims to reduce recidivism and end generational incarceration.
THE NAME CHANGE CAN BE DONE TODAY!
Correction Officers have had many titles. Although their job description of care, custody and control remains the same, their role has evolved. The actual role has expanded by social and economic pressures with more emphasis on care. They are an untapped resource.
The city could integrate Rikers and LaGuardia into its five-borough ferry system. The ferries as an alternative to long bus commutes could help iron out all the issues the current system cannot. Making this system far superior to any form of transportation that is currently used for visitors to and from Rikers Island.
With this proposal, the city stands to create revenue, allowing it to continue to produce programs, and support programs to reduce recidivism, rehabilitate, and achieve the long-term goal of ending generational incarceration.
This building will provide centralized parking for the staff and visitors. Having centralized parking will allow for easier access and distance to the buildings for all visitors, officials, employees, and other agencies. This building will be connected to the staff centralized locker rooms
This building will house central lockers, lounge, a gym, and cafeteria for staff. It will provide one location where they can secure their belongings, relax before & after work. This will help establish a less stressful environment for staff while on Rikers, making their transition daily from jail to home an easier adjustment.
This building will consist of both the Correction Headquarters and Correction Training Academy. The academy will be a state of the art training facility for both uniformed and non-uniformed members will be trained.
The central intake building will allow for incarcerated people to be processed in a faster, efficient, and more humane way. They will be triaged for medical and mental or behavioral health issues, substance, and alcohol abuse/addiction. They will be assigned a case manager from date of incarceration to release date. If they are on probation/parole, probation and parole will determine if they are still suited for probation/parole. they will remain in central intake for up to 7 days. When they leave central intake they will be assigned to a facility, hospital or court.
Despite running the largest mental health hospital in NYC. We don't have a mental health facility. This will be a 300-bed facility and will house the hospital triage, medical and mental health unit, and the contagious disease unit (CDU) that incarcerated people will use. The Department, with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Health and Hospital Corporation will manage health care for all incarcerated individuals in one location. In this building incarcerated individuals will receive all necessary medical and mental health attention they require.
This building will house courtrooms and offices for assigned staff. The new addition of courts to Rikers will eliminate the back and forth transportation of incarcerated individuals to courthouses throughout the city. This building will be dedicated to reducing delays and minimizing the time between arrest, sentencing, arraignments, case processing and more. Every year less than one percent of are resolved by trial in New York City. This will make for a more efficient and cost effective process.
This building will be a 100-bed facility. It will include a single room occupancy (SRO) type of residence to assist incarcerated individuals with transitioning back into the community. Formerly incarcerated individuals (jail or prison) face many challenges upon release. This transitional residences will provide an integrated and comprehensive on-site social service program that help residents restore and rebuild their lives while managing their re-entry into the community. The services provided will include case management, and employment and housing search. This will help establish a less stressful environment while making their transition from jail or prison to home a more realistic adjustment.
This building will house both vocational academy and central kitchen. Incarcerated individuals will be offered a vocational education, workshops and job training. Among the vocational training and workshops will be fellowship programs, plumber, carpenter, electrician, roofers, painters, drywall, construction, barber/beautician cosmetology, culinary arts, digital literacy, barista training and building maintenance, and automotive mechanic, and certification courses such as OSHA, food handler and CPR. Our primary goal will be to educate and teach usable skills to incarcerated individuals, helping make an easier transition back to the community. A key to re-entry success. Thereby helping to reduce recidivism and assisting in rehabilitation.
With the inclusion of educational, political, and community leaders, as well activists, business people, unions, and an endless number of inspiring individuals committed to the same goal of reducing recidivism, rehabilitation and ending generational incarceration. This building will be dedicated to the community. It will house an academic and research center. When asked what does criminal justice reform have to do with social and economic development? we ask, "How can you have reform without social and economic development?" The New jails must support reform and the opening of a NYC Community Center for Social and economic Development can be the catalyst in achieving that goal.
This building is specific to transportation, with indoor/outdoor parking, equipped with a garage, mechanic shop, gas station, car wash and storage.
This building is specific to operations, including Emergency Service Unit, K-9 Unit, Support Services Division, Radio Unit, Special Search Team, Emergency Preparedness Unit, Disaster Relief Unit and more. This building will also be designed with as a training facility for emergency service training for uniformed and non-uniformed staff.
Each facility will consist of 1500 housing units (Dorms & cells), Indoor/Outdoor recreation, Administration Offices, Barber/Beauty shop, Clinic, Pharmacy, Staff Cafeteria and Lounge, Facility Visits, Counsel Visits, Officers' Control Center, Non-denominational Chapel, Mosque, Law Library, Social Services, Nursery, Intake, Auditorium, and an urgent-care style clinic.
The vision can take various forms as regional priorities grow. Rikers Island is uniquely positioned to accommodate an expanded LaGuardia Airport. This could be an enormous deal for NYC and would provide for even greater infrastructure for LaGuardia Airport.
Leasing 300 acres (13,068,000 sf) to LaGuardia Airport will easily accommodate:
*Additional or extended runway
*Additional terminal or satellite terminal
*General Aviation Terminal
*Police and Fire-Rescue Headquarters
*New Parking Lots/Garages
*Alternative routes to runway
*Additional routes to the runway
*Quicker taxi time to the runway
*New car rental
There is no limit to what LaGuardia Airport can do with an additional 300 acres.
Being next door to LaGuardia Airport presents a rare opportunity to improve operations at one of the nations most challenged airports.
This could be an enormous deal for NYC and would provide for even greater infrastructure for LaGuardia Airport.
Rikers Island is strategically positioned to accommodate a extended runway for LaGuardia Airpoort and improve the regional air network.
Extended runway could expand flight capacity at LaGuardia Airport.
In July 2015, then Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by then Vice-President Joe Biden, announced a $4 billion plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport. The reconstruction and overhaul of LaGuardia is almost completed. Completely new everything, except an extended or new runway.
JfK Airport runway is 14,000 sf
Newark Airport runway is 11,000 sf
LaGuardia Airport runway is 7,000 sf
Among pilots, LaGuardia runways are referred to as "USS LaGuardia" because the runways are short and surrounded by water, thus giving the feel of landing on an aircraft carrier (LaGuardia Airport - Wikipedia).
There have been extensive studies on the cost, savings, and revenue of the closing or rebuilding of Rikers Island. We have compared all the research and concluded the cost and savings may vary, but the revenue and benefits to rebuilding and repurposing and most of all sharing of Rikers Island provides the best proposed plan offered to the city of New York.
This proposal could be completed at a cost of approximately $4.3-$5 billion dollars and completed over 24-36 months. For that we get: Four (4) new jails, Central Parking, Central Locker Rooms, Correction Academy & Headquarters, Central Intake Facility, Court Building, Hospital & Mental Health Facility, Vocational Academy & Central Kitchen, Transitional & Reentry Housing, Community Center for Social & Economic Development, Transportation Division, and Special Operation Division.
The rebuilding, repurposing, and most of all, the sharing of Rikers Island on the principles described in our proposal would be the most humane, and effective way in reducing recidivism, rehabilitation, and ending generational incarceration.
1. With the development of four (4) new jails on Rikers, the city could sell or repurpose the Bronx jail site at a savings of $1.8 billion dollars.
2. The city could build smaller borough-based jails (no need to build 20-30 story hi-rize jails).
3. With new technology the construction and design of jails require less staff. This means that the associated cost savings would be realized gradually. Through attrition annual savings have been estimated at $1.6 billion dollars.
4. Having a Court house and Hospital on Rikers will save about $31 million annually on transportation cost.
5. Rebuilding on Rikers would save taxpayers investment of critical infrastructure.
6. Rebuilding on Rikers, the city would have more deadline flexibility.
7. It would save on government competence to execute on time and on budget.
The largest economic benefit is associated with the expansion of LaGuardia Airport, which generate benefits both through jobs supporting the aviation industry on and off the airport.
Leasing 300 acres (13,068,000 million square feet) to LaGuardia Airport will produce revenue and allow for the expansion of the airport. The economic benefit of the expansion of LaGuardia Airport could generate up to $7.5 billion in total annual economic activity.
It can create thousands of direct jobs generated through increased airport operations, and visitors spending in a variety of industries across the city. These jobs include ticket agents, freight and material movers, security guards, cargo agents, retail and restaurant workers, and government employees. Most of these jobs can be attain with only a high school diploma.
Some researchers forecast with an extended runway and a new terminal LaGuardia Airport could serve 12 million more passengers a year, bringing $17 billon in annual economic activity to New York.
This plan will generate revenue from the airlines by offering them over 300 acres (13,068,000 square feet) to extend their runway and build additional structures. Rebuilding Rikers Island Expanding LaGuardia Airport could achieve significant cost savings and revenue for the City of New York.
ONCE ALL REBUILDING COST ARE FULLY PAID, THE CITY WOULD THEN SAVE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS EVERY YEAR IN PERPETUITY.
REBUILDING AND SHARING RIKERS IS A UNIQUE INVESTMENT IN THE CITY'S FUTURE THROUGH INVESTMENT DOLLARS AND NOT TAX DOLLARS.
Elias served the City of New York for 34 years, as a Correction Officer, an elected labor leader, jail reform activist, and a coalition builder. Elias spent his career, fighting for safer jails, jail reform and change within the NYC jail system. In July 2020, Elias founded the Eli-Global Reform Foundation. The foundation was born from his desire to continue being of service to his community.
Anyone talking about criminal justice reform must discuss how to pay for it and in this case look for a return on the investment. The fact is how can we have a conversation about criminal justice and jail reform and not discuss how we’re going to pay for it. It should be understood by anyone invested or interested in reducing recidivism, rehabilitation, or ending generational incarceration that we must have a discussion about cost.
Our proposal not only addresses how we can win in reducing recidivism rehabilitating and ending generational incarceration. Our philosophy is Simple put your money where your mouth is or shut up. You only help them when you can show them how to be productive members of the community. You only help them when you give them the skill set to take care of themselves and those that they are responsible for. You can do that by INVESTING in them and the CITY.
We haven’t seen any real solution being offered by the shutdown Rikers movement.
What we are proposing everybody has a vested interest in ensuring that the return-on-investment works. It’s in everybody’s interest that we get a return on investment. Regardless of who you are this proposal does what everyone continues to talk about. Which is reducing recidivism, rehabilitation, and ending generational incarceration. While supporting the economic and social development of the City we love.
New York City is recidivism rate is higher than the rate for the entire nation. Why is that?
New York has done everything to reduce the jail population and lower its incarceration rate. COVID-19 releases, early release of the elderly , bail reform, removing adolescents, and still according to commissioner of correction NYC is expected to reach 7000 people incarcerated before the end of 2023.
What we are proposing is a fresh new approach on how we can win with Rikers Island and NYC Jails.
LET'S BE CLEAR!
This is an investment in "the communities" of one of the most powerful and influential Cities in the world.”
THIS PROPOSAL IS NOT JUST THE RIGHT THING TO DO
BUT IT IS ALSO THE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO.
Check out this great video