Federal prosecutors say it’s broken. Inmates, visitors, lawyers, correction officers and even Gov. Cuomo say it’s “hell.”
But despite a culture of violence that’s resisted reform for decades and a movement to close it — backed by politicians, celebrities and activists — political realities appear to have Rikers Island headed for a makeover, not a shutdown.
Mayor de Blasio has promised to release his own long-term plan for the massive 10-jail complex within swimming distance of LaGuardia Airport in the coming months - and it doesn’t include shuttering the facility.
Officials tell the Daily News the mayor’s plan includes resuming construction on a controversial new jail on the island that has been stalled since he took office, along with the roughly more than $1 billion dollars worth of improvements on the island included in his 10-year preliminary budget.
Advocates and other elected officials say the only way to fix Rikers is to tear the place down and scatter modern jails in neighborhoods across the city - an idea staunchly opposed by some vocal groups in the communities that would be affected.
And others are drooling over the development prospects.