Commissioner Horn Answers Questions About HOD

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Department of Correction Commissioner Martin Horn explained to us in a lengthy interview (posted in full after the jump) why he’s still committed to reopening and doubling the Brooklyn House of Detention in Boerum Hill despite continued pressure from locals and elected officials to look elsewhere. Recently, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, also a mayoral candidate, urged Horn to sell the 50-year-old jail for its land value, estimated at up to $75 million, because reopening it could roll back the area’s economic gains. Expanding the existing facility would cost $440 million. Horn said only two new sites were considered and promptly dismissed because they weren’t connected to the courthouse. “If the city were to sell every piece of land available for development in a hot market, we wouldn’t have Prospect Park. But parks, we recognize, are an essential city service. So are schools, hospitals, roads and – yes – jails,” he said via email. In addition to its location, Horn said the jail is critical because of its maximum security cells.

At one point, the department sought a developer to bookend the doubled facility with housing or condos, but received only one response that eliminated even the existing jail. While some of Horn’s critics still continue to push this alternative plan, he asks, “I wonder whether supporters of the proposal are “advocates” for a greater commitment to reentry or are they simply opponents to the proposed jail, and advocates for a proposal in which they may have a proprietary interest?” Before the jail was shuttered in 2003, local residents complained of visitors queuing up outside and hiding contraband on private property, and officers parking on sidewalks. Bail bond businesses also once dominated the now trendy Atlantic Avenue corridor. Two of the partners in the alternative proposal, Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities, also have an interest in Horn’s decision: They are both developing market rate projects nearby. See his full responses after the jump…

Brownstoner: When the Brooklyn House of Detention was closed in 2003, you said it was to cut costs, even after $45 million in renovations. What has changed to warrant the reopening of the facility?
Department of Correction Commissioner Martin Horn: First of all, we want to tear down several severely outdated and dilapidated wooden and plastic jail buildings on Rikers Island – but 2003 presented an immediate challenge to cut costs because of a citywide budget cut. The Brooklyn jail was selected for closing at the time because compared to our other jails, its small capacity meant that its per capita costs were relatively high. In other words, it was more efficient to operate a jail that holds more defendants so that costs are spread over a larger population. We never suggested that the Brooklyn jail would be closed permanently.

What else has changed? We’re not planning simply to reopen a 749-bed jail, but to open a 1,469-bed jail. That nearly doubles the scale of the operation, which offers great cost-per-inmate efficiency.

City Comptroller Bill Thompson argued the city stands to lose revenue by reopening, instead of selling, the jail. Critics of your plan estimate the site could sell for $45 to $72 million, and depending on how it’s developed, could bring in $20 million every year in new tax revenue. In contrast, expanding the existing facility would cost $240 million, according to the most recent solicitation for architectural services (Mayor Bloomberg, in his message on the 2009 budget, said the total cost for the Brooklyn House of Detention would be $440 million). What are your numbers on how much the city is saving, or losing, by expanding the existing facility versus building a new one in a manufacturing area?
If the city were to sell every piece of land available for development in a hot market, we wouldn’t have Prospect Park. But parks, we recognize, are an essential city service. So are schools, hospitals, roads and – yes – jails.

manhattan-detention-center.jpg The original Brooklyn jail made sense because it is adjacent to the Brooklyn Court house. That is how jails are situated all over the United States. That is why the Manhattan Detention Center is connected to the Manhattan Criminal Courts in a thriving Chinatown neighborhood. Let’s face it: no location any place else in Brooklyn is closer to the Brooklyn courts than the original location of the jail and the adjacent parcel. It simply makes sense to hold Brooklyn residents charged with Brooklyn crimes and held for the Brooklyn courts in a Brooklyn jail, and the nearer to the Brooklyn courts, the better.

Then, of course, there are the issues that discourage us from relying any more than absolutely necessary on our Rikers Island location – the age and condition of several housing facilities that were intended to be temporary when built 30 years ago; its total reliance on one two-lane, one mile bridge as the only access to the mainland and the only way for 1,500 inmates to be bussed to and from court every day; the cost, environmental impact and security challenges of all of those transfers; the inaccessibility of Rikers to families wanting to visit defendants (350,000 visitors annually) and attorneys who need to consult with their clients.

Do you agree with Thompson that your plan could roll back some of the economic gains made in Downtown Brooklyn in the years since the jail has been closed? Why or why not?
I’m not a developer or an economist, and I don’t know the basis for his pessimistic prediction. I do know, however, that we never suggested to anyone that the jail would be forever closed, yet the development of the area took off while the jail was still operating. And I don’t think that a reopened jail will affect it. Is he suggesting that the Brooklyn Courthouse location should be sold and the Courthouse relocated as well?

If you were planning a new jail and did not have the current property would you advocate building the jail in a residential and commercial neighborhood like Boerum Hill?
Jails should always be built adjacent to or as near to the Courthouses they serve as possible. So, yes, as long as the Courts are in Downtown Brooklyn, that is where the jail should be.

Can you describe your search for an alternative site? Where did you look? How long did you look? What other sites were considered, and why were they ultimately rejected?
I asked elected officials in Brooklyn “if not here, where?” Nobody ever suggested a reasonable alternative. For the reasons stated above, this is where the jail belongs.

What were the locations suggested and by whom? Please be specific.
(His spokesman responded) We considered 270 Jay Street, which I think is/was a Transit Authority building which is inappropriate for retrofitting as a jail, and a site in Sunset Park in the area of the federal prison, which didn’t have the same proximity to the court house. No word on whether these were recommended by others or by whom.

Jail-with-Retail-Crop.jpg You have argued your plan is necessary to give detainees better access to their families and legal services than they have on Rikers Island. On another note, when the jail was open, nearby residents complained about the queue of visitors outside, some who would hide drugs and weapons on private property. According to the new solicitation for architectural services, the visitor’s center is one of the few things that would not be expanded. How do you explain that? Can you guarantee residents won’t experience the same disturbances as in the past, especially with the center expected to accommodate twice the number of visitors for which it was built?
What concerns people is clearly the question of whether a jail can be a good neighbor, whatever the surrounding neighborhood. With our goal of 30,000 square feet of retail space, I think we can guarantee that the building will fit better – both visually and operationally – than the original jail. The visit area was already substantially enlarged as part of the earlier renovations to the building. Our plans call for a redesign of the existing building entry lobby to accommodate greater numbers of waiting visitors inside, so that they will not have to wait outside.

I suggest a visit to the neighborhood surrounding the Manhattan Detention Center would illustrate for your readers just how well a jail can fit into a neighborhood that is a bustling and safe business, commercial and residential area.

Another main complaint was officers’ vehicles parking where they shouldn’t be, including on sidewalks. How could you guarantee that would no longer be an issue?
The design instructions to our architects include 18,000 square feet of sub-surface parking for 50 cars. We will ask the architect if the site can accommodate more. And the fact is that the problem – in the vast majority of complaints – was not illegal parking by Correction officers. Underground parking will help a lot. So will the Mayor’s recent actions to drastically reduce the number of government parking permits. And I think we can work with the precinct to ensure that parking regulations are enforced.

You have argued that community-located jails reduce recidivism. Has there been a study proving that, and what were its findings?
To be precise, I have argued that recidivism is reduced when inmates maintain strong connections to their families, including through visits, which would be enhanced by making the jails more accessible. And yes, national studies have proven it to be true. Furthermore, I think we need to remember that the people who will be held in the jail – awaiting trial or some resolution of their case – will be the fathers and sons and brothers of Brooklyn-people not yet proven guilty of their charges-people who under any circumstance should be able to take visits from and stay in touch with their families, friends and communities.

It is also true that inmates need to be connected to community-based programs that can help them after discharge with three essentials without which they will not succeed; employment, housing and addiction services. These Brooklyn-based service providers need to be close to their inmate clients. Incidentally, independent research on the effectiveness of our “discharge planning” programs showed that inmates who joined programs while in jail and stayed in the community programs for 90 days after discharge were significantly less likely to return to jail.

atlantic-gateway.jpg The one response to the city’s original inquiry, which sought a development team to double the jail’s capacity and “bookend” it with development sites, replaced the jail with a “Re-Entry and Rehabilitation Center” and creating onsite “First Step” housing by a group called Common Ground, which the city already contracts in its effort to solve homelessness. Advocates argue that the “Atlantic Gateway” approach, as it was dubbed, could reduce recidivism and is more appropriate for a residential and commercial community. Some stakeholders have also argued that if the city does re-use this site, they should at least take this opportunity to build a world-class, groundbreaking facility. What is your response to those arguments?
My short response is that it compromises public safety. It doesn’t even provide a safe terminus through which we can securely deliver inmates to and from Brooklyn courts, as the current jail does. It doesn’t help me to improve safety in our jails or eliminate decrepit or unsafe housing areas on Rikers Island. It doesn’t bring any Brooklyn inmates closer to families, attorneys or community supports or put them in safer areas. It doesn’t shorten travel times to Brooklyn courts, or save on transportation costs to the courts. No other jail or prison system has reentry programs that exceed New York City’s. No other system has tied together so many of the community pieces needed to help an inmate return to the community and succeed in a law-abiding life. But I wonder whether supporters of the proposal are “advocates” for a greater commitment to reentry or are they simply opponents to the proposed jail, and advocates for a proposal in which they may have a proprietary interest?

Why wasn’t “Atlantic Gateway” considered? And why wasn’t the proposal made public by the department?
It was considered. And it was promptly eliminated because it did not meet the basic criteria, which called for ideas for multiple uses of the parcel COMBINED with about 1,500 jail beds. As one of its authors acknowledged at the Stakeholders meeting last week, it was “non-conforming” to the RFEI. It was rejected for that reason. Note too that it was the only proposal received. The market was not enthusiastic to develop the site as envisioned in the RFEI.

We should be very clear about that RFEI process, which I initiated, following more than a year of conversations with community leaders, including many now part of the Stakeholders group. In response to community concerns about making the jail fit with the community, and as part of a two-year effort to consider those concerns, we went looking for ideas on how to combine a jail with other uses. We were looking for jail PLUS. All that this proposal had was the PLUS.

The Department of Correction didn’t make it public because the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) process was conducted for us by the city Economic Development Corporation (EDC). EDC’s policy is to not release unsuccessful responses to its RFEIs. It was ultimately released by its authors.

Furthermore, the advocates for Atlantic Gateway are missing something critical in our plan. We are not expanding our city jail system or adding cells. This plan is all about SHRINKING the size of the city’s jail system. In fact, we will reduce our total capacity by 3,000 simply by building fewer cells off Rikers Island than we will demolish on Rikers Island.

Another argument against the existing facility is that it is old and outdated, having been built in the 1950s with only 40 square feet allocated per individual cell, whereas today’s standards are higher. Opponents of reusing the jail argue conditions for inmates would improve with a new one. What is your response to this argument?
It is certainly in far better condition than the Rikers Island facilities that it will replace when reopened and expanded. The Department of Correction is authorized to house inmates in the current configuration of the original building by both of the independent oversight agencies that supervise us – the NYS Commission of Correction and the NYC Board of Correction. The cells in the existing Brooklyn jail might not be as big or nice as they might be if built today, but they will be better than many that we use today on Rikers Island. The addition will conform to all current applicable standards.

Would any inmates from other county jails or the state prison system be housed at the Brooklyn jail? What about maximum-security inmates in the individual cells?
The Brooklyn jail will primarily house detainees for trial in Brooklyn. However, it is possible that someone serving time in state prison or who has previously served time in state prison would be required to appear in Brooklyn courts, and thus might be held in the Brooklyn jail. It is also possible that on occasion an inmate with a securing order from another jurisdiction might be held there for purposes of safety or security, just as we might house someone from Brooklyn elsewhere. However, it is unlikely to occur with any frequency. The Brooklyn jail is being opened and expanded to hold inmates close to the courts. And because one-third of our annual admissions are from Brooklyn, it is very likely that we will always have more Brooklyn inmates than we can accommodate in the Brooklyn jail, leaving no room for others. The original building was built with maximum-security cells and that is one very important reason why the City cannot give it up.

Does the community still have an opportunity to influence the Department of Correction’s plans for the Brooklyn House of Detention? If yes, what aspects could they influence?
We clearly continue to be committed to our plan. But as I told the Stakeholders organization in March, we have already accepted some of their recommendations for design. And, as soon as an architect is selected and retained, we will convene the first of continuing meetings with local organizations and officials to continue to get their input.

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  • Why bother having these posts anymore? This is the best location for the jail, because the infrastructure is intact and the building is adjacent to courthouses and substance-abuse treatment programs for offenders mandated to rehabilitation. The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the plan should not be trumped by whining from local NIMBYs.

  • “officers parking on sidewalks. Bail bond businesses also once dominated the now trendy Atlantic Avenue corridor”
    1. Officers still park on sidewalk and much street parking is gov’t employees. BECAUSE Court House is there. And still will be.
    2. Bail Bond businesses did NOT DOMINATE – that is not factual. There were a couple more than now – but dominate is wrong word.
    And because Court House still there – there will still be bondsmen. Really, how terrible is that?

  • I lived across from the jail (on Dean Street) and now live a few blocks from it. I don’t relish its reopening, but it simply has to re-open, and the logic for its expansion is sound. Anyone who thought the jail would be sold and developed into condos is a complete idiot.

    On the other hand, while the Commissioner’s comments sound good and reasonable, the jail has been abominably run and extremely unresponsive to community concerns in the past. No optimism here on how un-impactful this expanded jail will be.

  • Anybody catch that article from 2 years ago – I bragging that the jails in NYC are so empty, he regularly rents out the BHOD to Law & Order for filming?! Even had a nice little pic of him inside the empty jail!

  • As a resident in the neighborhood, I think we should all stop the whining about the jail….lets just face the reality that the reopening makes a lot of sense. We need to recognize this fact as responsible citizens and work with Corrections Commissioner to address safety/parking/noise related concerns that we will have.

  • When the war ends, we’re going to need someplace to put the What. This is as good as any, I suppose.

  • I really, really want the jail. Just because…

  • If proximity to the courthouses, while important, is proven to not be the appropriate dominant factor in this decision, most of these responses largely fall apart. Brownstoner should obviously interview the Stakeholder’s association, or some of elected officials who oppose expansion, to get the other side of the arguments.

  • 40 square foot cells?

    That is just completely insane and inhumane – No wonder prisoners freak out in those crapholes.

  • Most of us long-time residents of the area, while not relishing the jail, have no serious problems with it. It is all those folks who just “discovered” the neighborhhod and want to turn it into the mall of the americas who are bitching.

  • Good point, 12:30. While prisoners are no angels and I think they should pay some price for their crimes, I agree that the sensory deprivation common to jails and prisons often compounds violent tempraments and only makes inmates more unstable. Prisoners with serious mental illnesses (an increasingly larger percentage of the criminal justice population) fare the worst.

  • Nearby residents shouldn’t worry about it so much. It doesn’t reflect badly on the area. There are plenty amenities and things to make Boerum Hill appealing and it won’t be hurt by this. Everytime I visit Boerum Hill or parts of Manhattan where there is a jail, I never notice it’s there. Everybody living in NYC (with a brain) understands that in urban cities our jails are located in close proximity to residential streets.

  • To be honest, my biggest problem with this jail is that it’s bone ugly. If they take care of that part, I don’t care who they put in it.

  • It’s not a prison, 12:39. It’s a jail. So prisoners aren’t kept in the small cells long term.

  • Except, 12:24, it isn’t an argument. The Department of Corrections controls the site and has unused development rights sufficient to double the size.

  • also 12:39 not all of these people have been convicted of crimes. They are held in these cells while awaiting trial. I’m happy that they will be held here as opposed to Rikers, but it should be noted that many people who pass through here will be innocent of the crimes for which they are being accused.

  • if they have to keep it just make it better looking. I love how they want to make it convenient for the so called alleged criminals so then can be close to their family…Who cares about them we didnt commit a crime they did or(SUPPOSEDLY)lol…

  • That doesn’t mean there isn’t two sides to an argument about what is best or most appropriate. Dramatic analogy, but laws typically don’t require a bystander holding a floatation device to throw it to someone who is drowning. Does that mean there is no argument there about whether the bystander should? I’m just saying that what is down on paper isn’t the end of the story, and even what is down on paper can easily be changed by someone in the right position.

  • Jails should be near courthouses and accessible to detainees’ attorneys and families. The Brooklyn House of Detention ain’t going anywhere. But I found the interview very informative. While I am not adverse to a similar interview with opponents I suspect it comes down to “we could make a lot of money if it weren’t there” and “we would prefer not to have a jail across the street,” both of which are understandable but really can’t trump the societal need for this facility.

  • Manhattan HOD doesnt really cause any problems.

    If they are very cautious about being good neighbors, it wont have a big impact on the community at large.

    Of course, this is NYC we are talking about so I find it unlikely that the DOC will commit the resources necessary to minimize effects on the neighborhood in the long term.

    In the first few years, things will be fine, but the jail will be open a long long time.

  • Lived on State Street for a lot of years while detention center was operational. Only closed in ’03. No big deal whatsoever from a quality of life standpoint. And the bail bondsmen on Atlantic are probably thrilled.

  • Isn’t the Manhattan HOD in Tribeca? It has hardly held back that neighborhood!

    Everybody just needs to calm down and deal.

  • I’ve lived in the area over 30 years and the difference since that place closed is amazing.

    Commissioner Horn continually talks out of both sides of his mouth on the issues, telling the City Council that detention facilities should be in industrial areas when he’s trying to build one in the Bronx, but somehow residential Brooklyn is just fine for re-opening. And equating the area of the lower Manhattan Correctional Facility (125 White Street, NOT in Tribeca, NOT residential BTW, get your facts straight) with Boerum Hill/Downtown Brooklyn…HUH? Connection of the jail to the courthouse…that’s a laugh! The courthouse is mostly used for civil trials these days and the prisoners would have to be bussed to other locations. There are lots of examples like that to be found on http://www.brooklynjail.org.

    He can’t show any studies to back up his assertions, nothing specific, and a lot of contradictions. But it’s not like it’s his idea: he’s just carrying out another hair-brained idea from the Mayor who doesn’t like his Comptroller (who has called for selling it and is also coincidentally running for Mayor against Bloomberg’s pet candidate…!)

  • “But I wonder whether supporters of the proposal are “advocates” for a greater commitment to reentry or are they simply opponents to the proposed jail, and advocates for a proposal in which they may have a proprietary interest?”

    So instead of answering the question, Horn tries to smear by innuendo. Yeah, nothing suspicious about that!

  • It is such a prominent and pivotal site for a jail. city planning in this town is non-existent. this jail was just plopped here when this part of brooklyn was considered a piece of shit. typical government point of view. Now that the people have taken back the neighborhoods and worked hard to make them decent and a beautiful places to live, we should fight the officials with all we’ve got. They lie through their teeth and for all we know they are posturing to get a high price for the parcel. Have you ever worked in high levels of government? I have and I can tell you it is like the three stooges meet the three horsement of the apocalypse, you don’t know true deviousness and boneheadedness until you have worked directly for a commissioner or other high official. don’t beleive a word they say or leak. fight the scoundrels.

  • I think the issue here is the DOUBLING of the inmate population – if you look at the Stakeholders’ (opponents) site at brooklynjail.org, you see they are against the EXPANSION of the jail, not saying close it down and sell it for more luxe condos and Trader Joe’s part Deux.

    I’d LOVE to see the urban planning that will be done (ahem, probably NONE) in regards to the huge increase in traffic – both foot and vehicular – that a doubled jail will cause. State Street is a traffic and parking disaster as it is now, and nothing has been done about it. I’m no engineer but how does he plan on digging under the existing jail’s foundation to create his fab new underground parking?! Maybe the chain gangs they parade around the streets in plain sight and in front of children can help with the digging.

  • It is connected to one courthouse. There is a lot more to it than that!!! Considered two alternatives but dismissed them b/c they were not connected to the courthouse? I wonder how much money and time it took them to figure out that these sites were not physically connected to the courthouse, talk about consideration. BS. All the other city services he describes, e.g. parks, provide a benefit to the community that lives around them and pays tax dollars for them. Jails are in a different category and every effort should be made to minimize their impact on the general public who didn’t do anything to be put in them (i know, innocent until proven guilty).

    Getting rid of this jail would take this area from great to amazing once that stretch of atlantic is fully developed. Really is one of the best locations in brooklyn.

  • Stoner,
    I think you would have gotten more comments here if your posting server was working better. more glitches? what a drag! some of my comments today have not appeared at all and others have been delayed by almost an hour. that is not what people want in a blog. sorry.

  • The Tombs in Manhattan are in Chinatown – not Tribeca – but certainly a residential neighborhood. The Kings County criminal court building is still right next to the jail, altho the felony courthouse has moved over to the other side of Adams Street. An idea situation would have been to build a new jail right next to that new building, but the Marriott is in the way.

    I thought the opposition was to reopenning the jail in any form, not just the expansion. The expansion doesn’t change the number of buses going through the streets, because whether at Rikers or on Atlantic Avenue, detainees have to get the Supreme Court building. It just vastly shortens the trip. {I gather that it would eliminate the need for buses for misdemeanor cases if indeed the jail is attached to the Central Courthouse right next door.} While we are loath to say that a jail is a general good like a park, in fact it is just as necessary to society. And it is a good thing to allow families and attorneys easy access to detainees, since that will speed the resolution of cases and allow detainees to maintain ties to their home communities (in which many of us have chosen to live). Unless the neighbors are suggesting that we move the courthouses as well, it is hard to understand their arguments as being anything but NIMBYism. Understandable, but hardly persuasive.

  • shut up putmandenizen most of the folks in this jail come from your neck of the woods.
    why should we have to put up with your trash?

  • Do any of you think that Bernie Kerik would have entertained any of your nonsense while serving as Commisioner of DOC under Guiliani. Hell no! The jail would have opened and doubled in capacity without a care as to what you all think. The officers parking there now are mostly from agencies other than DOC. Under the old guard, they would have been allowed to park in your driveway and if you complained, you would have been locked up and sent to Guantanamo Bay. Did they consult with the residents of Chinatown before closing off public streets leading to 1 Police Plaza like an armed camp even though security firms paid for by local merchants who are most affected by the street closures have stated that there are more community friendly options? No.

    At least Horn is willing to engage the community. Be thankful. I wish he’d just go ahead and open it as is just to serve you all right. You all only care about your property values. You numbskulls should not have purchased condo’s near a jail that was there before the condo’s were built if you didn’t want to live near the jail! NIMBY’s.

  • NIMBY’s, NIMBY’s, NIMBY’s, etc…

    Most people walk right by the Manhattan House of Detention and don’t even realize that it is a jail. There are stores all along the bottom and a big plaza in the middle. I didn’t know it was there until I saw a bunch of CO’s running out from one building into another with riot gear on. I was told that it was some sort of exercise.

  • Ummm…Putnamdenizen, current Brooklyn resident here. You can’t compare 125 White Street as a residential neighborhood with Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn. There may be perhaps two dozen apartments on the blocks directly surrounding the Manhattan Detention Facility, and not all of those are legal. There are hundreds of apartments and townhouses within one block of the Brooklyn HOD. Right now there are ZERO detainees in that building and Horn proposes to zoom to 1,500+. The expansion would greatly increase the number of buses going through the streets because the courts the detainees would be going to are blocks away on JAY STREET! What do you think, they’re going to march them through the streets in chains?

    The DOC is pursuing the same stupid and shortsighted approaches they have for years. They need to be held to a standard of planning that can be reviewed, defended, and approved before the City commits $420,000,000 to bad planning in an obsolete facility and stunts tax paying area growth. Let DOC prove they have a real plan that will work before they get a cent.

    Right now the city is proposing dumping an obscene amount of money that will be impossible to be spent in one year as requested. So what will happen to the money? Why does this look like another way to squirrel away funds for “undocumented uses?” Almost a half BILLION dollars can go missing at a time the city is closing schools and firehouses, and telling the public to do their civic duty and shut up. Our civic duty is watching the hen house!

    You don’t think all the crooks are necessarily only in the HOD, do you? HAH! Maybe the idiot who thinks invoking Bernie Kerick is a good strategy…

  • many folks in brooklyn like putmandenizen are just delighted that the HOD is in an overwhelmingly white part of the borough. but it doesn’t matter to those of us who live nearby because we will continue making big bucks and spending big bucks and our houses will keep appreciating mega big bucks and the HOD is a world onto itself much more connected to other parts of brooklyn, where the criminals and their families live, than to our neighbohoods where we don’t know them or are related to them.

  • This was Kerik’s mess. Horn is trying to fix it. Do you think that the crooks were only working for DOC? If the city wanted to open a school here there would be no oppostion although the School Construction Authority has the worst record of completing projects on time and on budget. Not to mention that the custodians and principals are given control over millions of our tax dollars without scrutiny. DOC post Kerik, is probably the most scrutinzed of all city agencies. The commissioner can not shit without being questioned about why he used Scott instead of Charmin to wipe his ass.

  • 10:17, you don’t have to spend all the capital dollars in the allocation year. There is a project going on in Fort Greene as I write that was funded in 1999. Sorry to blow a hole in your conspiracy theory. I’m sure you can find another one.

  • There is something fishy going on with this whole thing. Someone will no doubt (looking at you Stakeholders) bring a lawsuit before this whole thing is over and maybe then at least some of the facts will come out.

  • The Stakeholders have not argued there should be no jail on the site. They have recognized the DOC’s right to reopen the facility.

    They have argued that in the face of lower crime rates there should be a need for fewer, not double the number of existing beds in the facility.

    They have also argued that the Brooklyn HOD should not be increased in size in order to accommodate inmates from other boroughs, and indeed, other counties, as has been the case in the past. It is Commissioner Horne himself who has insisted that prisoners should be housed in their home borough.

    Members of the Stakeholders group have lived in the neighborhood for many years and have experienced the HOD both open and closed. It has never been a good neighbor. Employees of the police department, the courts, and corrections routinely park their personal and official cars blocking crosswalks and traffic lights, on sidewalks, and at fire hydrants. That is a huge problem at the present time with the HOD closed. How the neighborhood can absorb the volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic that would result from a reopened, and possibly doubled, HOD must be addressed.

    There is so much miscommunication and such lack of understanding in the posts, let me suggest readers go to the Stakeholders website to read the documents which relate the history of the HOD.

  • Horn should be selling used Rolls rather than heading the DOC. His big “search” for alternative space is such bullshit. His agency stupidly sold off a perfect large site, the “Brig”, near the Navy Yard, now comes begging for another “perfect” site. He sure didn’t look hard for a substitute. Now he wants to add long term parking for con-victs, as well as housing for short term detainees. His “search” should consider a nice new site at, for example, the Brooklyn Navy Yard or nearby. Speaking of parking, do we really believe that 50 parking spaces for a staff to manage 1,500 prisoners passes the sniff test? Of course DOC staff NEVER park on sidewalks or do ANYTHING adverse to the
    neighbors.

    Dear Commish: reopen the HOD as it stands.
    Anything more, even one inch, you’ll be meeting the community in court. Your double talking and the capriciousness of recent DOC choices will come to haunt you, so don’t think one word has been forgotten, honest.