"The Manhattan Detention Complex, the notoriously dank jails facility nicknamed "The Tombs," will close next month. In a letter sent to staffers on Friday, city Department of Corrections commissioner Cynthia Brann reportedly said the 15-story complex covering an entire square block on Centre Street in Lower Manhattan will close its 881-bed facility sometime in November.
“We are also taking advantage of the significant reduction in our current and projected jail population to continue closing older facilities that pose the most pressing administrative and structural problems. This will allow us to consolidate our efforts in better facilities, reduce overtime, expand training and programs, and continue investing in enhancing safety,” Brann wrote.
She also announced that the Otis Bantum Correction Center on Rikers Island in Queens will be closed, part of a larger effort to centralize the shrinking jail population as the city moves toward building four borough-based jails. The plan hit a snag last month after a Manhattan judge halted the construction of a jail in Chinatown, which could have implications for the other borough-based jails.
Peter Thorne, DOC spokesperson, told Gothamist in a statement that the consolidation "will reduce overtime, expand training and programs, and continue investing in enhancing safety.”
Staffers at each complex will be reassigned next month, according to Brann. The Corrections Officers' Benevolent Association reportedly said there 748 officers at MDC and another 857 guards at OBCC. A total of 763 inmates are housed between the two jail centers, according to figures obtained by the Daily News.
MDC has had a history of violent episodes happen inside the fortress-like structure that adjoins another building housing Manhattan's Central Booking unit and the District Attorney's office. The history of violence goes back to at least 1970 when detainees took five guards hostage, later releasing them.