NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Rikers Island is one of the most notorious jail complexes in America. Now it is one step closer to shutting down. New York City's Department of Correction is set to close the George Motchan Detention Center on Rikers Island. The GMDC currently houses about 600 inmates and detainees.
Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann said that the city's jail population has dropped below 9,000 for the first time in 35 years.
Last spring, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to close Rikers Island in 10 years, citing the systemic problems of violence, corruption, and outdated buildings and infrastructure. The downward trend in incarceration is making that possible, according to Elizabeth Glazer, the director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.
The correction officers' union blasted the announcement, saying the focus should be on reducing violence. The officials insisted that DOC staffing will be not be cut. Chief of Department Hazel Jennings said that GMDC workers will be reassigned throughout the agency.
New York City has the lowest incarceration rate of any major city in the country, according to the de Blasio administration.
The question still remains where will the inmates and detainees go once Rikers Island is shut down for good.