The New York City Council has approved a sweeping $8 billion plan to close the troubled jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails by 2026.

US media reports says the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to close Rikers Island jail on October 17 and open four new borough-based facilities instead.

The jail, which is on an island in the East River, has reportedly become a symbol of the ills of pretrial detention. 

The jail is also notorious for its violence and poor conditions, according to CNN.  The US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York reached a settlement with the city in 2015 after a multi-year investigation found adolescent inmates were not protected from “the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by New York City Department of Correction staff and violence inflicted by other inmates.”

New York's jail population has reportedly declined by nearly half in the last six years.  The jail population has declined from 11,000 in 2014 to about 7,000 today, and is projected to be approximately 3,300 by 2026.