Levin Expresses Deep Concern On Brooklyn Jail Transfers
City Council Member Stephen Levin (D-Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, Fulton Ferry, Greenpoint, Vinegar Hill, Williamsburg.) expressed deep concern and questioned the city’s transparency over the transfer of inmates from the Brooklyn House of Detention to Riker’s Island.
Levin’s sharp rebuke comes after The City reported last week that the Brooklyn jail, 275 Atlantic Avenue, on the Boerum Hill/Downtown Brooklyn/Carroll Gardens borders will close around the end of the year, and that the 357 inmates would be transferred back o Rikers in the interim.
Levin said after the story came out he spoke with the de Blasio administration multiple times for further information and was told declaratively there is no plan to close the Brooklyn House of Detention in the next few months.
“Upon hearing further rumors and reports from members of No New Jails, my office visited the Brooklyn House of Detention (BHOD) this morning to learn more about what was happening on the ground for people personally and in practice. Our staff talked with corrections officers, family members of individuals being detained, social workers and attorneys and heard firsthand that individuals have been transferred to Rikers from BHOD at higher levels than in past years,” said Levin.
“While people are sometimes moved from one facility to another and population rates have decreased across all facilities because of reform, the reports of increased transfers and a potential imminent closure are serious. We heard a family member pleading for expedient bail for her son because of concerns of a transfer to Rikers. These conflicting reports raise several concerning questions around what is happening under Department of Corrections’ control and highlight a serious need for real transparency and accountability from the administration.
“We need to close Rikers Island as soon as possible. And that includes not sending people from Brooklyn House of Detention to Rikers Island in the interim. Let me be clear, the Brooklyn House of Detention is a terrible facility. There is no AC [air conditioning], which puts people’s health at risk in the summer, it is operationally unsound, and out of compliance with safety standards. However, in our effort to close Rikers, we must do everything we can to double down on our decarceration efforts and not simply shift people from one jail to another.
“The Department of Corrections needs to immediately provide publicly comprehensive information on the number of people who are in Brooklyn House of Detention, any and all transfers that are being made to Rikers Island (and how these numbers compare to prior years), and disclose any operational plans that are currently being either implemented or contemplated. This is an issue of public trust. We cannot ask communities to trust their representatives if information is withheld or inaccurate.
“I have serious concerns about DOC’s role in the closure of Rikers. The dissonance between the information DOC has provided to me and what is being reported on the ground calls into question DOC’s transparency and their accountability to the Mayor, the Council, and all New Yorkers. It makes one wonder whether they should have full control over the operations of detention facilities in New York City. If we believe that a close to home approach is important for people in detention, than we cannot allow DOC to surreptitiously move individuals further away from their loved ones,” Levin added.
Levin’s comments come following the City Planning Commission approving the four-borough proposal to close Riker’s Island and house the city’s inmates to jails in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan.
Adams Hosts Forum On Clarke Street Subway Renovations
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams this evening will hold a public forum on the Clark Street subway station renovations.
The station, which has a number of small businesses in it, and is accessible only by elevator, is located in Brooklyn Heights. Other lawmakers representing the area, including Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, and U.S. Rep. Member Nydia Velázquez will also be on hand.
The forum is slated for 6 p.m., today, Sept. 16 at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
Schumer, Gillibrand Ramp Up Pressure To Pass Gun Safety Legislation
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced yesterday that various members of the Senate will take to the Senate floor this week to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-KY) to bring bi-partisan and already House-passed gun safety legislation to the floor where it would likely pass, and then go to the President for his signature.
“It really is a shame that despite the recent shootings, the human tragedies and the overwhelming cries by the American people for Congress to act on gun violence, that I have to stand here and admit we all need to keep the pressure on,” said Schumer, the Senate minority leader. “Today, I am announcing that we in the Senate will not be silent when Mitch McConnell and the administration need us to be. We will be vociferous, and next week in the Senate we will demand a vote on meaningful and commonsense reforms, like fixing our broken background check law.”
“Gun violence is a crisis in our communities, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Gillibrand. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shamefully refused to act as more lives continue to be lost to gun violence every day. That’s why we’re demanding he bring common-sense gun control legislation up for a vote and calling on our colleagues in Congress to join us in taking to the Senate floor this week for a full-court press. We will not give up this fight until Congress does the right thing for New Yorkers and all Americans.”
Schumer said that, as Minority Leader, he would devote floor time on Tuesday to a ‘full-court press’ for members to implore Leader McConnell to allow the Senate to vote on the aforementioned legislation—H.R. 8—that the House of Representatives already passed in February with strong bipartisan support. The legislation would enact universal background checks on all gun purchases, and address dangerous purchasing loopholes, both direly-needed actions necessary to address the scourge.
Rose Voices Opposition To Purdue Pharma Settlement
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) today will denounce the reported settlement between thousands of municipal governments and nearly two dozen states that sued Purdue Pharma and its owners, members of the Sackler family for their role in the opioid crises in manufacturing and marketing OxyContin, which is seen as an early driver of the epidemic that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
The settlement has come as State Attorney General Letitia James said on Friday her office has found over $1 billion in money transfers from the company to the Sackler Family.
Rose will make his case against the settlement at 9:30 a.m., today Sept. 16 outside the Thurgood Marshall United States Court House, 40 Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.
Frontus Demands Accountability On NYCHA Gas Outages
Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge) today will call on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to ensure any future service outages are addressed in a timely and efficient manner.
Frontus will be joined by Coney Island Houses Resident Association President Lauretta Brumfield as well as residents impacted by the recent gas outage at the Coney Island Houses. Over 100 families had been without gas for nearly a month, creating health and safety hazards.
Frontus condemned NYCHA for how it handled the situation – giving every apartment a single hot plate – and for how long it took to restore gas.
The call to action is slated for 10 a.m., today, Sept. 16 at NYCHA’s Coney Island Houses, 3020 Surf Avenue in Coney Island.
Malliotakis Exposes Two-Way Verrazanow Bridge Shell Game
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island) today will present the case against the two-way tolling plan that local members of Congress and the MTA presented for the Verrazano Bridge.
Malliotakis, who obtained an MTA study on the projected impact of the change on Staten Island and Southwest Brooklyn only after filing a Freedom of Information Law request, is addressing the fact that the two-way tolling plan results in minimal impact on traffic while producing revenue increases for the MTA without benefit to Southwest Brooklyn and Staten Island residents.
Malliotakis will also explain why the Port Authority is looking to strip residents of the discounts they enjoy on the three Staten Island bridges
Malliotakis will explain her position at 11:15 a.m., today, Sept. 16 at the 92nd Street ramp for the Verrazano Bridge, 92nd Street and Gatling Place in Bay Ridge.