Inmates Coming Back to the House of D Next Month

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The Department of Corrections says it will start putting inmates into the House of Detention on Atlantic and Smith next month, according to the Daily News, and eventually fill all 759 of the facility’s beds over the coming year. According to the story, the inmates will be pretrial prisoners who have court dates in Brooklyn and Staten Island. The jail basically stopped hosting inmates in 2003, and some neighborhood residents are less than thrilled about the HOD’s reopening: “Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association and a member of the house of detention’s community advisory committee, said that when the jail was open, it brought visitors ditching contraband in the street, vehicles parking in bus stops and handicapped spots, and shackled prisoners being transported through residential streets. ‘Residents of State Street with small children are unnerved by that,’ he said.” A few years ago a bunch of different schemes for the building that came to nothing were bandied about, including ones that involved getting a developer to build retail and expanding the jail facilities. It remains to be seen whether simply bringing inmates back will have an effect on residents’ quality of life.
Inmates to Fill Reopened Brooklyn House of Detention in Boerum Hill [NY Daily News] GMAP
Photo by JayeClaire.

39 Comment

  • ‘Residents of State Street with small children are unnerved by that,’

    Probably only the new gentrifiers. I suspect most of the old-timers were in the HOD at one point or another.

    J/K :)

  • EVERYBODY wants to be in DTB (forget DoBro please)

  • EVERYBODY wants to be in DTB (forget DoBro please)

  • are these “residents on state street” the ones from the 14 townhouses? i’ll bet on it.

  • Dave do you think adding “just kidding” makes your comment any less racist? Cause it doesn’t.
    Courts and jails are an essential function of government. It makes sense that they are near each other and that those detained are easily accessible to their lawyers and their families. Even if they weren’t already a jail where the Brooklyn House of Detention is it would make sense to build one. Since it already exists there can be little question that it is appropriate to use it. While indeed it may be upsetting for children (including my own son who goes to school at 261 nearby) to see people in chains, and perhaps more subtly to notice that almost all those in chains are men of color, we as citizens and parents need to take responsibility for our criminal justice system and not hide it from our children.

    • I lived across the street for about a year when the DC was in full use. I never saw anyone in chains. How are children going to be exposed to this?

      …and from what I remember, they shut it down to renovate to the tune of about 10 or 12 million and never reopened it. Its about time those tax dollars went to use.

    • I lived across the street for about a year when the DC was in full use. I never saw anyone in chains. How are children going to be exposed to this?

      …and from what I remember, they shut it down to renovate to the tune of about 10 or 12 million and never reopened it. Its about time those tax dollars went to use.

  • S c r e w you, Putnam. Never once did I mention race. it was about criminality.

    You equated criminality with race. You made it racist.

  • “Even if it’s something they believe in, something they think society needs. Like prisons. Everybody wants more prisons, right? Everybody wants more prisons, people say, “BUILD MORE PRISONS! But not here!” But why not? What’s wrong? What’s the problem? What’s wrong with having a prison in your neighborhood? It seems to me like it would make it a pretty crime-free area, don’t you think? You think a lot of crackheads and pimps and hookers and thieves are going to be hanging around in front of a *#&$&*@ prison?! Bull#$*%, they ‘aint coming anywhere near it! What’s wrong with these people? All the criminals are locked up behind the walls, and if a couple of them do break out what do you think they’re going to do, hang around? Check real-estate trends? Bull#$*%, they’re *#&$&*@ gone! That’s the whole idea of breaking out of prison: to get the *#&$ as far away as you possibly can. ” – George Carlin

  • “Even if it’s something they believe in, something they think society needs. Like prisons. Everybody wants more prisons, right? Everybody wants more prisons, people say, “BUILD MORE PRISONS! But not here!” But why not? What’s wrong? What’s the problem? What’s wrong with having a prison in your neighborhood? It seems to me like it would make it a pretty crime-free area, don’t you think? You think a lot of crackheads and pimps and hookers and thieves are going to be hanging around in front of a *#&$&*@ prison?! Bull#$*%, they ‘aint coming anywhere near it! What’s wrong with these people? All the criminals are locked up behind the walls, and if a couple of them do break out what do you think they’re going to do, hang around? Check real-estate trends? Bull#$*%, they’re *#&$&*@ gone! That’s the whole idea of breaking out of prison: to get the *#&$ as far away as you possibly can. ” – George Carlin

  • This isnt a prison – its a jail – that is totally different
    Jails hold:
    people awaiting trial (i.e. presumed innocent) – who cant make bail, or arent offered bail (like murder suspect) are housed in jails
    misdemeanor offenders serving less than 1 yr and
    occasionally felony convicts who are brought downstate for Court hearings and other proceedings.

    Prisons hold convicted felons

    As to this new development – I think it makes sense. If the community could show that another nearby location (has to be nearby to be practical) could work and be more cost effective (i.e selling current HOD in favor of lower cost (acquisition, retrofit, and operation) alternative – then sure, that would be better. But I am opposed to 1. letting a recently upgraded facility sit empty costing taxpayers a fortune to mothball or 2. ridiculous plans to sink more taxpayer money into upgrading, or changing existing facility after 100M of recent taxpayer money has yet to be amortized 1 cent.

  • Basically, you can’t redevelop the HOD. It is built like a steel battleship on the inside – would be cheaper to rip the whole thing down rather than renovate. That’s the thing with detention facilities – in order to make them more secure, what you do is put more steel in the MF’er. Even if you have a block wall, you can be assured that there are steel bars set at 8″ on center in the middle of it.

  • Basically, you can’t redevelop the HOD. It is built like a steel battleship on the inside – would be cheaper to rip the whole thing down rather than renovate. That’s the thing with detention facilities – in order to make them more secure, what you do is put more steel in the MF’er. Even if you have a block wall, you can be assured that there are steel bars set at 8″ on center in the middle of it.

  • Ah, the return of the Brooklyn Hilton.

  • Good news, hopefuly some of the Wall Street / financial services scum will be checking-in pretty soon…

  • sorry noladarling – real White Collar/Wall St Crimes are prosecuted by the Feds – you’ll have to go to MDC on the Sunset Park Waterfront for those guys and besides they almost always make bail (ankle bracelet) so they dont need jail cells at all.

  • I’ve lived and worked in Brooklyn for a long time, including a job near here, and had good friends who lived around the corner from here, and never did I hear any complaints when the H of D was in full use. It was a non-issue. It wasn’t until it closed, and condos and new construction started going up around it that it suddenly became the 2 ton elephant in the room.

    Long story short, it’s convenient to the courts, and that’s why it’s there, and should remain there, and get used. The double parked cars, ditched contraband and other stuff can be dealt with. And you are more likely to see shackled prisoners near a court building, whether they are coming from across the street, or off a bus from Queens. All societal issues about crime, race and class aside, that’s what courthouses are for, and sadly, ours are in full use. Having the dentention center there is for the common good, and needs to stay.

  • For a while there was an issue with the Correction Officers Union about the building’s unsafe design. Unsafe for the officers that is. Modern facilities are probably very different.

  • The kids should see the shackled prisoners, “See Tommy, that’s what happens when you break the law”

  • I also lived in the area when the HoD was active – the only issues were corrections officers parking illegally on the sidewalks (like the firemen do at the firehouse near me, making it impossible for surrounding businesses to remain open for long – try calling that complaint in to 311 – I can’t get to the store because the firemen’s SUVs are blocking it – no sympathy there, sorry for the business owners) and occasional fights among the women waiting to visit their jailed relatives/companions. I agree that parking is going to be an even greater problem now that there are many new residential buildings around and former gas stations/parking lots have also been sold off for redevelopment.

  • Turn it into a hotel, leave the bars and cells, SUPER trendy.

    Add some night clubs, called: sign sign (swing) ; rikers (hip hop); alcatraz (retro); chino (in CALI – Dead mentioned in a song) Latin, attica for heavy metal.

  • Well MM that isnt entirely true – there were complaints at least 20years ago about unruly behavior by people waiting to go in to visit prisoners and also prisoners harassing pedestrians and such from a fenced rec area…but I agree it wasn’t a major issue. (and certainly not one worth keeping a facility worth hundreds of millions of dollars sitting empty)

    Another factor that should be considered by the city (and opponents as well) is that the main courthouse has been moved down Jay St (the Courthouse next door is only used for arraignments I believe) – therefore prisoner transfers to the courthouse (in Brooklyn) must still be done by bus. The only reason why I mention this is because it may ultimately make sense to open a facility on less valuable RE (in a less populated area) and the city could then profit from the appreciation in their DTB land. But again, there is no fiscally (or socially) responsible way this facility (recently upgraded for $100M) should sit unused.

  • there must be a reason why the building has been empty for so many years. It’s not the nearby residents fault. It is the building itself, which is designed in a weird manner inside, it is completely obsolete and the guards don’t want to work there because they feel they are at risk.

  • “whether simply bringing inmates back will have an effect on residents’ quality of life.”

    Yeah, real estate prices will plummet in Brooklyn Heights. a third of what they are now.
    Parents tightly clutching their children to their bosom won’t walk on that side of the street.
    All the restaurants in the neighborhood will only serve Slop.
    A curfew will be set up for residents. You venture out after dark at your own risk.

  • “whether simply bringing inmates back will have an effect on residents’ quality of life.”

    Yeah, real estate prices will plummet in Brooklyn Heights. a third of what they are now.
    Parents tightly clutching their children to their bosom won’t walk on that side of the street.
    All the restaurants in the neighborhood will only serve Slop.
    A curfew will be set up for residents. You venture out after dark at your own risk.

  • That’s right. they closed it to renovate it but the renovation was a waste of time and money and they could not figure out how to re-open it. The community expressed its desires pro and con but had no real say in whether the facility re-opened or not. One thing is clear, all the money spent was a boondoggle and I doubt this facility will ever hold more than just a few inmates because it does not function well as a modern detention facility.

  • Not 10-12 Million – The renovation was in the area of 75-100M (originally projected at $50M)

  • Who approved the $50 million spend and who was responsible for managing the project? Who got paid?

  • Who approved the $50 million spend and who was responsible for managing the project? Who got paid?

  • Details about this boondoggle here, including discussion of the notorious “writ of mandamus.” http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=4&id=32817

  • Any thought to giving it a better name? Like Be@Jail?

  • Any thought to giving it a better name? Like Be@Jail?

  • “Be@Jail?”

    OK, that was funny. Although jail is not funny.

  • “Be@Jail?”

    OK, that was funny. Although jail is not funny.

  • remembering more. the lower figure was to renovate the existing structure as it was built. the higher figure was to expand the number of beds.

  • remembering more. the lower figure was to renovate the existing structure as it was built. the higher figure was to expand the number of beds.

  • the only people complaining are the folks who just moved in the neighborhood.. the so called newbies who claim brooklyn is hip all of a sudden..guess what it was alway hip and your using it to make yourself hip and now a jail is in your backyard and your upset..then move back to manhattan or somewhere america…simple

  • this is not the worst thing in the world. The folks now living near the BHD have the means to leave if they do not want to live by it. I would have to say that when the BHD opened in 1957, I bet there were a lot of people who did not like it and could not afford to move elsewhere.

    Let’s consider where we buy before doing so. Like the people who bought around an outlying airport knowing the risks – and then turned around and camplained to the FAA about the noise and then were given free triple pane windows. In other words they screwed the FAA and us taxpayers.

    Look, if you want to pay less money to live someplace or if a State St townhouse seems like a great deal, there is a reason why –