NYC Department of Correction unveils plan to shutter ‘The Tombs’ and a jail on Rikers Island

The notorious Manhattan lockup known as “The Tombs” will be shuttered along with a jail on Rikers Island by the end of November, the Department of Correction said Friday.

The closures are part of the agency’s move to create four smaller jails in every city borough except for Staten Island, a plan created by the City Council when the chamber voted to shut down lockups on Rikers Island.

“We are also taking advantage of the significant reduction in our current and projected jail population to continue closing older facilities that pose the most pressing administrative and structural problems. This will allow us to consolidate our efforts in better facilities, reduce overtime, expand training and programs, and continue investing in enhancing safety,” Cynthia Brann, the commissioner of the city DOC, wrote in a letter to staff.

She added that staff members at the two jails — the Otis Bantum Correctional Center and The Tombs — would be reassigned to other facilities and commands in the department in the next month.

The Metropolitan Detention Center, aka The Tombs, currently has 748 officers and 434 inmates, while the Otis Bantum Correctional Center has 857 officers and 329 inmates.

In a statement, the union that represents correction officers blasted the plan, saying it would lead to overcrowding in the midst of a pandemic.

“Today’s reckless announcement on the planned closures of MDC and OBCC would throw inmates and officers on top of those who are already in the other jails, increasing the density and compromising our ability to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 that has already emerged in Brooklyn and Queens,” said Benny Bosico Jr., president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

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