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‘Justice for the Bronx’ unites stakeholders to block ‘unjust’ jail In low-income community of color

The Bronx — Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Rep. Jose Serrano joined Bronx community groups and social justice advocates this week to form “Justice for the Bronx”—a coalition to stop the Mott Haven jail.

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to place a new jail in the middle of a diverse, underserved, working class community of color in Mott Haven, Bronx. In response, “Justice for the Bronx” was formed as a unified front to organize against the jail proposal.

“I unequivocally support the closure of Rikers Island. However, this is the wrong site to build a new jail, period,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The administration must come to the table and engage with the community in a meaningful way as part of a process that better meets the stated goals of jail reform and restorative justice that this city seeks to support. Presenting this site as a fait accompli has the potential to undermine necessary reforms to the criminal justice system.”

“While I fully support the closure of Rikers Island, the site selection process for the new Bronx Borough jail has been fatally flawed from the beginning by the lack of community inclusion in the site selection process. The Mayor’s decision to build a new

jail in the middle of a growing working-class neighborhood, and his refusal to take the community’s concerns into account, are deeply disappointing. Once again, the Bronx is being unfairly burdened with facilities that other communities are not asked to house. The South Bronx is already home to too many of these projects and is doing its fair share of housing the City’s prison system through the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center in Hunts Point and the Horizon Juvenile Detention Center in Mott Haven. There is no reason whatsoever why our working families should bear the burden of another prison. I am proud to join this coalition as a Founding Member to, in unity, urge the De

Blasio Administration to stand on the side of the people. The Mott Haven community deserves the opportunity to implement an economic and affordable development plan centered on the needs of its families,” said Congressman Jose E. Serrano.

“Instead of rewarding the people of Mott Haven for their hard work, Mayor de Blasio is punishing them,”said Arline Parks, CEO of local affordable housing provider Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association. “The Justice for the Bronx coalition is standing up for the people of the Bronx who are afterthoughts to the Mayor and his administration. Together, we will fight this jail — and win.”

The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform also specifically advised new jails should not be placed “in residential areas”.

There is a public hearing at the Bronx County Courthouse about the plan scheduled for October 3rd.