Elected officials and neighbors of the long-closed Brooklyn Detention Center are protesting plans to reopen and expand the facility.
The jail at 275 Atlantic Ave. closed its doors in 2003, and since plans to reopen the facility and double its inmate capacity were announced in 2007, a tense tug-of-war between the city's Department of Correction and local officials has ensued. The city is expected to announce a developer and begin a $440 million redevelopment by the end of July.
Yesterday, dozens of Brooklyn residents waving "Stop the Jail" signs stood in protest with the local City Council member, David Yassky, the city comptroller, William Thompson Jr., and a handful of state legislators.
"This is a case where the Department of Correction is saying, 'If it isn't broke, break it,'" Mr. Thompson, an expected mayoral candidate in 2009, said yesterday.
He and Mr. Yassky, who is running for comptroller, described how downtown Brooklyn has become increasingly residential and attractive to small businesses since the jail's closing.
They urged Mayor Bloomberg to sell the property and build more jail space on Rikers Island instead.
A recently formed citizen action group, StopBHOD, is opposing the development, citing a lack of transparency and adequate research on the effects of reopening.
"They're trying to railroad it through without going through the process," an organization spokesman, David Wieder, said.
The correction department plan would increase the jail's capacity to 1,479 from 815.
A deputy commissioner of the department, Stephen Morello, did not immediately return a request for comment yesterday. In the past, the department has defended the Brooklyn expansion as part of a larger plan to decrease citywide jail capacity and allow local inmates to live near their families.