We the undersigned wish to express our deep concern about the consolidation of existing Brooklyn operations of DOCCS to 15 Second Avenue in Gowanus and request that DOCCS suspend its opening until there is genuine community engagement and planning, and reconsider siting a single borough-wide reporting office that will serve 300 to 400 parolees a day at this location.
The planning process for this facility has fallen far short of what any community deserves from their government. Over several months, not one single written word about the facility has been provided by DOCCS to the community or its elected officials. DOCCS has failed to articulate a coherent rationale for choosing to site a borough-wide facility in the heart of an industrial business zone close to a vibrant residential community. DOCCS has not shared the criteria it uses to site facilities, the solicitation, RFP, or process through which this site was chosen.
This single facility would replace three facilities that were originally in Downtown Brooklyn location, which were convenient to transit, and located in a commercial district with substantial foot-traffic. This new location would concentrate 300 to 400 parolees visits per day in a single site, which is close to many schools, parks and residential areas and inconvenient to transit. If the goal is to provide community-based locations, then there should be several around Brooklyn, convenient to residents from many neighborhoods, in areas with services. Perhaps this location could be one such facility; however, the state cannot claim that siting one facility in this location to serve the entire borough is part of a community-based strategy.
We encourage DOCCS to develop a plan to serve the existing 5,000 parolees through multiple parole facilities through Brooklyn. We oppose the current plan to site the sole, borough-wide parole facility in an isolated location on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, far from transit and with no transparency, information, or meaningful engagement to address reasonable community concerns. We urge DOCCS to reconsider.