(No New Jails) On the evening of June 25th, a group of New York prison abolitionists gathered inside the hearing room of Bronx Borough President President Rubén Díaz Jr. to hear City Hall’s proposal to replace Rikers Island with “a network of modern and humane borough-based jails” in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. During the presentation by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, members of the crowd hoisted up green flyers declaring “If They Build It, They Will Fill It.” For several hours, organizers went up to the microphone to testify, many using “No new jails!” as their rallying cry. Later that night, at La Boom nightclub in Queens, the slogan emerged again as a chant after Tiffany Cabán—who had campaigned as a “decarceral” prosecutor, promising to oppose construction of new jails, end cash bail, decriminalize sex work, and put far fewer people in prison—declared victory in the race for Queens District Attorney. (The race is now in recount.) A few weeks later, the chants of “No new jails!” were back at a City Planning Commission hearing, drowning out speakers and briefly halting the proceedings. It’s been a rapid rise to prominence for the prison abolitionists of New York,… Read full this story
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