The Vernon C. Bain Center (VCBC) is an 800-bed, 191-meter long floating detention facility moored in the East River within the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. It functions as an auxiliary of the Rikers Island jail complex and is the primary facility for the criminal court intake in the Bronx. In recent history, the South Bronx has been subjected to some of the most severe impacts of structural racism in New York City throughout periods of planned shrinkage, economic collapse, redlining, and revanchist schemes of urban planning that continue to sabotage public health. I argue that the placement of VCBC in the South Bronx and its continued existence in the same place are deliberate attempts by the City of New York to obscure a node of its violent carceral network.
I have recently discovered materials related to the construction of VCBC that have never been assembled together nor made available to the wider public. My long-term goal is to create an archive of material related to VCBC – housed within a public educational institution in New York City. The purpose of the archive would be to provide activists and whistleblowers with full context on the facility's history and infrastructure and to provide an opportunity for people working outside of academic or arts-based environments to examine one of the most inaccessible carceral structures in the city.