Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Judge Hearing Suit to Block House of Detention Expansion

November 20th, 2008 · 1 Comment

As we mentioned yesterday, a lawsuit was filed to block the $440 million expansion of the Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue. A judge is hearing the case today (11/20) at Kings County Supreme Court (360 Adams St., Brooklyn). From a release the landed in the inbox:

Kings County Supreme Court Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix will hear arguments at 11:30 AM Thursday in a lawsuit to stop the City’s plan to build an unnecessary $440 million jail. Comptroller William C. Thompson, Council Member David Yassky, and community organizations filed the suit Monday, arguing that 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.

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. 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.

On the political side of things, there’s also an online petition to stop the re-opening and expansion.

Tags: Downtown Brooklyn

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 curious george // Nov 20, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    anyone know the outcome of the hearing?