Construction of New Rikers Jail Is Officially ‘On Pause’

On Monday, New York City’s jail chief, Joseph Ponte, surprised the City Council by announcing that the plan to build a new 1,500-bed jail on Rikers Island, first reported by the Voice in October, had been placed on hold.

The acknowledgment came during a hearing held by the City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, chaired by Queens Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. In response to a question from Crowley, Commissioner Ponte said that construction on the new jail has been stopped.

“As we look at construction and now with the…kind of the movement to close Rikers all those things politically have to be taken into consideration,” Ponte testified, according to a transcript of the proceedings. “So the 1,500 bed facility on Rikers is still at…at a kind of a pause right now.”