New York

New York City to close Rikers Island

Protesters demand the closure of New York's Rikers Island.

Protesters demand the closure of New York's Rikers Island.  (AP)

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday vowed to shutter Rikers Island and replace it with “at least a few new facilities” to lock up jailbirds elsewhere in the city.

“New York City will close the Rikers Island jail facility,” de Blasio said during a City Hall news conference.

THE WEEK IN PICTURES

“It will take many years, it will take many tough decisions along the way. But it will happen.”

But de Blasio stopped short of adopting the recommendations in a draft report from a blue-ribbon panel headed by former New York state Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

DYLANN ROOF TO PLEAD GUILTY TO MURDER

That plan calls for building a new jail in each of the city’s five boroughs at a total estimated cost of $10.6 billion.

“I’m working from a neutral position of saying I only know this: We will need a few more facilities,” de Blasio said.

“There’s no assumption on the number or location or how many.”

De Blasio last year publicly rejected calls to close Rikers, calling it a “noble concept” but saying “it would cost many billions of dollars — and I have to look out for what’s feasible, and I have to look out for the taxpayer.”

A draft version of Lippman’s report obtained by The Post recommends reducing the Rikers population — now around 10,000 — by about half and replacing the violence-plagued correction complex with five new jails spread across the city. 

Click here for more from the New York Post