An independent commission released its final report recommending Rikers Island be shutdown Sunday.
It comes just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito supported closing the facility.
The commission is making a number of recommendations on how to improve safety at nearly every step of the criminal justice process.
It suggests moving inmates to other smaller facilities located closer to local courts.
Criminal Justice Advocates say it could protect communities and young people from the devastating effects of mass incarceration.
"More jail does not equal more safety," said Nicholas Turner, with the Rikers Independent Commission. "In fact, you can reduce crime and reduce jail at the same time, so the recommendations are based on that experience."
"16 year-olds are trying to figure out who they are, what their identity is, how they fit into society and when you send them to an isolated, remote island where there's a lot of abuse happening, it does a lot to structure the way they think about themselves," said Glenn Martin with JustLeadershipUSA. "The message it sent to me was that I had little value."
Critics are worried about moving jails closer to neighborhoods and say the plan is too complicated.
The commission hopes to repurpose the island into a LaGuardia runway or wastewater treatment plants within 10 years.