Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Suit Being Filed Against Reopening of Brooklyn House of Detention

November 18th, 2008 · 1 Comment

City Comptroller Bill Thompson and City Council Member David Yassky have filed papers in court asking a judge to block the reopening of the Brookyn House of Detention and are filing a lawsuit against the city arguing that plans for the $440 million expansion have to go through community, land use process under city and state law. They say the city already violated the law by re-opening the facility without public review. There’s a press event scheduled for 11:30AM today. Here’s some of the release that went out very early this morning:

The New York City government secretively and illegally re-populated and planned to massively expand its jail in Downtown Brooklyn despite deep concerns that the project is a waste of taxpayer money and would have a destructive effect on the local economy, according to a lawsuit by Comptroller William C. Thompson, Council Member David Yassky and public interest attorney Randy Mastro to be announced at 11:30 AM today.

The City has repeatedly declared its intention to nearly double the size of its closed Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue, yet has not informed or engaged the public about the re-opening of the expansion project, nor has it followed any of the state or city laws which compel it to conduct a detailed analysis to determine environmental and community impacts.  Meanwhile, the City has re-opened the jail and budgeted about $440 million for jail construction, and already entered into contract to spend more than $30 million on an architect to plan construction.

The Brooklyn House of Detention was closed in 2003 because of a declining prison population, sizable capacity available for prisoners at Rikers Island, and in order to save money on the costs of running an extra jail.  Soon after, however, the Bloomberg administration announced plans to build a towering new structure atop the exiting jail, nearly doubling its size and adding 700 new beds.  Downtown Brooklyn’s local elected officials have all questioned the plan and the City’s procedure, and called for the City to scuttle the project for economic reasons.

The show for the cameras and reporters takes place in front of the House of Detention.

Tags: Downtown Brooklyn

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 spnder // Nov 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

    HOD day 1:

    Corrections van parked on the sidewalk on Atlantic at Smith.

    Corrections officer stopping traffic to take four women in chains across State street to the HOD.