The House of Dention is crucial to our work

The House of Dention is crucial to our work

The Brooklyn House of Detention, capacity 759 inmates, was built in 1957. Located in downtown Brooklyn, on Atlantic Avenue, the 11-story facility housed inmates steadily for nearly half a century before the city closed the building temporarily in 2003. This facility wasn’t the borough’s first city jail; there has been a city jail in Brooklyn since 1686, but performs crucial services that are critical to law enforcement and criminal justice.

The jail will re-open as the Brooklyn Detention Complex in February 2012, fully refurbished. Inmates will be transferred gradually to the facility over several months. The majority of them will be pre-trial detainees with criminal cases in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Its capacity remains steady at 759 inmates. There will be no expansion.

The New York City Department of Correction operates a total of 11 jails with detention facilities on Rikers Island and in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, where the Queens Detention Center will also reopen within the year. In total, approximately 13,000 inmates are detained daily, and in the course of a year, about 90,000 are admitted and released. Relatively few — about 15 percent — are sentenced to the state’s correctional system. The majority return home. These facts inform our work. The Department of Correction is a proud member of the city’s law enforcement and criminal justice community, and we work closely with the city’s other uniformed and human services agencies to ensure your safety and wellbeing while inmates are in our custody. In anticipation of the jail’s reopening, the department called the first meeting of the Community Advisory Committee last month, which includes representatives from Community Board Districts 2 and 6 a member appointed by the Brooklyn Borough President and the Councilmember from District 33. Its chair is a member of the Department of Corrections, Tom Bergdall; our general counsel and a longtime resident of Community Board Districts 2 and 6. Warden Walter Nin, a 28-year member of service, also serves on the committee. An able correction administrator, Warden Nin will ensure the jail is a safe and secure facility and your good neighbor.

The Department is hosting an open house for the community on Saturday, Feb. 4. Both Warden Nin and Tom Bergdall will be there, as will I. We invite you to tour the facility, speak with us and meet our staff. We will also post frequently asked questions with answers on our website at www.nyc.gov/doc and we have established an email address to convey comments and concerns directly to the facility at [email protected].

Dora Schriro is the New York City Department of Correction commissioner.