The most important issue New Yorkers are not hearing about.
You know the old saw about a frog in a frying pan? That a frog’s nervous system is so primitive, if you slowly heat the pan to scalding the frog will never jump out — resulting in a fried frog?
That’s New York City and the “Boro-based Jail Plan,” currently on its way.
I can’t shout about this enough — and I confess to few allies. But it is likely the most important single issue facing New York’s future.
For those unfamiliar with the plan: during the de Blasio administration (otherwise known as “The Dark Years”), the decision was made, in conjunction with the City Council, to close the Rikers Island jail.
Rikers is where NYC houses all prisoners just-arrested and awaiting case adjudication.
Over the years, Rikers grew overcrowded, poorly administrated, and dangerous. Prisoners die there regularly. The place is so un-monitored, inmates film gangsta-rap videos behind bars. Rikers guards have just been equipped with submachine guns. The federal monitor overseeing the place says it’s only getting worse.
The problem is not that Rikers needs to be reformed. It’s not even the plan to move all prisoners to jails located in individual NYC boroughs.
The Problem: The plan — currently well underway — will require a 40% deduction in prisoner population from where we are right now.
You read that right. You think we don’t lock up or hold anyone now? Imagine dropping that amount by nearly half. That half to include a high number of violent, career recidivists.
An important new op-ed on the topic is out now in The New York Daily News. Written by retired Queens ADA Jim Quinn — who knows more about this topic than anyone — it lays it all out clear as a bell (full disclosure: Mr. Quinn and I know each other).
My own op-ed — published in The New York Post about a year ago and pictured below — is here.
Folks, crime is not going down. The current plan is for 3,300 prisoner beds — for a city of 8.5 million.
When NYC was at its safest, Rikers housed at least two-to-three times that number.
This isn’t politics — it’s math. This cannot — will not — work.
So far, Mayor Adams won’t touch it. He won’t even comment on it.
Which means: Along with the de Blasio administration: he now owns it.
As does our mainstream media, who is ignoring it as well. They won’t be able to much longer.
The plan, delayed by COVID, is set to go into effect over the next two years.
Brace for impact.
Pennsylvania Prisoner Escape
Michael Burham remains at-large in Pennsylvania, having escaped from a county jail by rappelling to freedom using bedsheets (now that’s an OG escape).
As reported by the PA State Police, Burham is likely still in the area. The question becomes: Is he receiving assistance?
It’s well-reported that he has friends and family nearby. As I discussed with Eric Shawn on Fox News Live this past Sunday, the police task force will be reverse engineering Burham’s outside life, to see who he might have contacted.
But just as important, they’ll also reverse engineer his prison life. Who visited him in jail? Who called him? Who did he call? Write to?
And do any jailhouse informants know anything?
The task force is reporting that he has likely changed clothing, and may have a gun. That tells me he probably committed a burglary nearby — he certainly didn’t come out of jail with that stuff.
But new info from PA State PD is that they suspect Burham is being assisted…. Which is odd. Wouldn’t a genuine accomplice have just gotten him into the trunk of a car and driven him off?
Perhaps an old acquaintance just gave him some stuff and sent him on his way. You can bet the task force will be all over anyone that fits that bill.
So what now?
His Facebook page has indicators that he likes fishing. We know he is a “survivalist,” with more than a decade of Army reservist experience as a “water-treatment specialist.”
You can live without food for weeks — even months. But you can’t live long without water.
So I’d be looking near water (he escaped not far from Lake Chautauqua and even Lake Erie).
Several campsites have been found that the task force feels are his. Clearly, he thinks he can take to the woods…. If so, access to water will be key.
Recall, too: He’s not that far from Canada.
He could even make for Native American land — there are two reservations in the area that could be reachable.
The entire thing reminds me of the case of Eric Rudolph, the abortion clinic bomber who made the FBI “Ten Most Wanted” and who was on the run for years. Rudolph was eventually captured when he had to emerge from the woods to scrounge for food.
Survivalist or not, this one feels like it’s going that way…. If the PD dogs don’t track him, he’ll emerge at some point when he’s truly desperate.
But what it also feels like: this guy won’t go quietly.
AI and crime.
Things are gonna get… interesting.
Thanks for reading The Ops Desk!