Rikers Beds Won't go to ICE
May 7th, 2010
Empty beds on Rikers Island are going on the rental market.
Tenants, however, won’t include federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
To help close a city budget gap, the Department of Correction has proposed to lease several hundred vacant beds on Rikers Island to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They will charge $150 per bed a day, raking in about $13.2 million every year. Stephen Morello of the Department of Correction called in to say those beds won’t go to federal immigration officials, whose presence on Rikers has been the subject of some controversy.
“We had an exploratory conversation with them,” said Morello of federal immigration officials renting beds. “They are not interested in our space.”
Federal immigration officials do not have a separate facility on Rikers, but they do have staff members that review inmate files and select people for interrogation — and potentially deportation. A Freedom of Information Act request by immigration advocacy groups last year found between 2004 and 2009, 13,000 Rikers inmates were put in deportation proceedings because of this practice.
This is not the first time the city has leased space in its correction facilities to other law enforcement agencies. When Suffolk County was out of room, the city leased out its beds to them.By Courtney Gross on May 7, 2010, 2:27 pm
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