Tallest Jail In The World Set To Be Built In Chinatown, NYC

protest sign that says mayor listen to chinatown
Tremain Prioleau II
November 20, 2023

New York City is building the world’s tallest jail in Chinatown and residents and justice activists are in a race to stop it. The  jail is planned to stand at around 300ft (92m), making it one of the tallest buildings in the area.

Business owners are worried about the impending eyesore the jail will become to locals and tourists. A carceral symbol of this magnitude will deter many from stepping near the area potentially harming the local economy.

City officials and justice reform advocates believe that this new jail is a necessary step in closing Rikers Island. The New York City council voted to shut down Rikers in 2019 and included the order to replace it with four smaller jails including the one in Chinatown.

Mayor Eric Adams took the cries of concerned residents as fuel for his mayoral campaign, co-opting the language of locals and throwing his support behind them for votes. Adams has since reversed course as Mayor and made active steps to ensure the jail’s completion.

NYC building the world’s tallest jail is a carceral threat to us all. Building more jails to facilitate the closing of another cannot be the only answer to this evil system. How can we push for money and resources for this jail to be used to facilitate the freedom and rehabilitation of incarcerated people instead?

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