Within walking distance from Barney’s and Trader Joe’s, the Brooklyn House of Detention is preparing for 759 new tenants. Not exactly the modern picture of bohemian paradise Brooklyn likes to portray. But this is also the reality of the prison industrial complex in which we live, The Times reports:
The jail will incarcerate primarily prisoners who have been arraigned and are awaiting trial in Brooklyn or on Staten Island. Because those prisoners are no longer coming from Rikers, this will reduce bus traffic, officials say. The average stay will be 56 days. Prisoners are escorted from the complex to and from Brooklyn Criminal Court through an underground tunnel.
The detention house was never meant to be permanent and closed in 2003, but given growing pains at Rikers Island, the Department of Corrections is renovating and reopening the Brooklyn penitentiary.
Downtown Brooklyn, however, has been a site of rapid gentrification which leaves many community members uneasy about their children’s safety and the value of their homes. The concerns are not the prisoners – which are locked up and under surveillance - but rather the parking spots and visitors as a potential factor to increased foot crime.
To add insult to the mockery, Crain’s notes that the “city toyed with the idea of adding retail units on the bottom floor of the jail, but a lawsuit in 2010 barred authorities from expanding the jail in any way.”