Freaks, Misfits, Malcontents, Parolees Coming to 147 Pierrepont

The folks at Brownstoner dive into the conundrum of a planned “major parole facility” moving into the Ratner owned 147 Pierrepont. The building is conveniently located across from St. Ann’s School. Convicted criminals on parole fresh from the joint co-mingling with schoolkids? Sounds like a plan to us. One that may just suck a little bit.
View Larger Map

Brownstoner adds, “The new center, which would consolidate two existing parole offices in the Downtown area, is slated to serve 1,700 Federal parolees and be manned by armed guards, according to an email from a member of the school community.” B’stoner also mentions that Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is organizing a press conference to voice opposition to the plan. A photo posted on the site shows that construction of the office is well under way. Reports say that it will be up and running by mid-August.

But who are these Federal prisoners who will be checking in with “the man” at this new facility? Kidnappers? Drug smugglers? Rogue traders? Martha Stewart (okay, she’s off parole but you get the point)? Is this the worst idea ever…or what?

Update: The Brooklyn Eagle explains everything.

Share this Story:

, , , ,

  • Attica

    Actually, it’s a great idea, since “next to the parole office” is the last place anyone on parole would commit a crime.

  • C.

    Well this certainly sucks

  • Nancy

    Well won’t that be just lovely for the young children going from the lower school to the upper school, as well as all the other kids. and as far as the parolees not committing a crime where they are checking in, let me tell you, I work in another building where they meet their parole officers. They make sure and store their weapons outside, or they ask their friends to hold them. Yep, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Where are our Councilmembers and other elected officials here? Who was the GENIUS who thought this was a good idea to put this building next to a school?????

  • oh, please

    Will the St Ann’s kids be selling the weed to the parolees, or buying it from them?

  • Attica

    At least the parole board is trying to help ex-offenders instead of holding up signs saying UNCLEAN.

    What, exactly, does City Council have to say about how the federal government uses properties it’s leased? Or even the Congresswoman? And doesn’t the fact that this use presumably doesn’t violate any covenants in the lease tell you that the public menace concerns might be a bit overstated? Also, the “GENIUS” in charge of this idea is actually the same person in charge of enforcing federal law in the Eastern District of New York. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

  • Nancy

    “oh please”, your comments show your ignorance and stupidity. Why not contribute something useful.

    I don’t see public concerns being overrated when there are young children involved. That is my opinion. And if Ratner is involved, somehow the deal stinks; it always does.

  • ABC

    Isn’t this the same operation that was down a couple blocks on Clinton? Near Packer? I don’t see the big deal.

  • Curmudgeon

    As it is a Federal parole operation why don’t they just put it in the Federal Courthouse building. Certainly it should not be near St Ann’s.

    Where is the Heights Association when you need it? – busy helping another “clean” tenant like a bank or real estate office to move onto Montague St.

    And the Local City leaders? Do they do anything for us that counts or are they busy putting up “Fugedaboudit” signs.

    Why has this this kept under wraps? Get ready for the next battle we lose: Brooklyn House of Detention reopening soon!

    Question – Would they do this type of thing in a similar Manhattan neighborhood?

  • beth

    Yes, I do think they would do this type of thing in a similar Manhattan neighborhood. And what do you mean by similar? Rich? White?

  • ABC

    For the record, I’m also pro-jail. You want them to waste money building a new one when the city has one sitting empty? Smart.

  • Attica

    Is there a “public safety” objection to the House of D reopening from the Maude Flanders contingent? Y’all know they lock the doors right? (And people awaiting trial are technically innocent, just as parolees have repaid their debts to society and could be WALKING AMONG YOU NOW?!?!??!)

  • holysh*t

    who are you a**holes defending criminals in our neighborhood?

    get the f out.

  • Jason


    If the parolees have paid their debts to society, why do they need to check in at the parole office? Here’s the thing about parolees and people awaiting trial… they are not a random sample of the population. They are, on average, more likely to be criminals than randomly selected New Yorkers. The legislature goes out of its way to keep dangerous things away from schools — think “gun free school zones” and “drug free school zones.” So the question then becomes, does it make sense to put a group of people that you know contains more criminals than the average group of people right next to a school? I’d say no, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    For the record, I’m not opposed to reopening the House of D. It’s always been a prison, and it’s situated right near the courts so that use makes sense. It’s also not right next to a school.

  • Oscar Jonas, Office of Sen. Martin Connor

    Senator Martin Connor has heard about the proposed parole office next to the St. Ann’s School and has sent the following letter to United States Attorney Campbell:

    July 11, 2008

    Hon. Benton J. Campbell
    United Sates Attorney
    Eastern District of New York
    271 Cadman Plaza East
    Brooklyn, NY 11201

    Dear U.S. Attorney Campbell:

    I have just learned of your office’s plans to open a parole office at 147 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. This location is across the street from the main building of the St. Ann’s School. There are also classrooms in 147 Pierrepont Street and St. Ann’s Lower School is immediately adjacent to this location.

    Frankly, I cannot imagine a more inappropriate location for such a facility. I have been told that up to 1,700 federal parolees will be reporting to this office and that armed security guards will be staffing this location. This seems to me, to raise a possibly of an unsafe situation for young school children.

    Brooklyn Heights and the Downtown Brooklyn area is home to the regional offices of many city, state and federal agencies. With the presence of these offices comes traffic, crowding on the sidewalks and subway stations, and the possibility of dangerous people frequently being transported to the courthouses and other facilities. A Parole office may add an additional element of danger to the neighborhood.

    While I understand that your office is in need a facility to process parolees, I urge you to reconsider this location. Certainly, there are more appropriate sites in the Eastern District for this office.

    I respectfully request a meeting with your office to discuss alternate locations for this parole facility.


    Senator Martin Connor

    For More information please contact Sen. Connor’s Office at (212)298-5565

    Or e-mail Oscar Jonas of his staff at

  • Uncomfortable

    It’s not that there are such facilities in our midst, I mean we all know we are city folk. We live work and breath near all sorts of everything. But it’s the proximity to the school entrances that is different than on a nearbly block -this is on a corner that the kids constantly traverse throughout the schoolday, not to mention the fact that the same building houses middle school and computers. Will there be an armed guard at that door too now?

    And yeah, they say it’s mostly harmless white collar criminals, and they’ve done their time and this is the last place they would ever yada yada. But this quote from the Brooklyn Eagle article does give me a little shudder.

    “What Types of Probationers Will Be There?
    The probation office will also serve sex offenders, says Garoppolo. The sex crimes are specifically related to the use of computers to download and exchange child pornography – a federal crime. “Most of our offenders have committed no violent offenses,” he says. “

  • here since 89

    The BHA just doesn’t want any of the parolees to park here. If they take public transportaion and buy a sandwich on Montague Street, they’re golden.
    They should watch their wallets though, those St Ann kids are rascals.

  • Get over it

    Sounds like a lot of NIMBY to me. Keep the undesirables out of our pristine little neighborhood; keep the criminals out. Pray tell, suggest where else we should put this facility? Not, I imagine, where any of you might have to come across it.

  • Attica

    This fear-mongering is straight out of Nixon. Part of me enjoys watching white people in need of real problems get worked up over something they can’t do anything about, but I happen to have some experience in prisoners’ rights and criminal defense law which is why I feel strongly about not stigmatizing parolees. They have a right to be treated with respect, and everyone benefits from making parole offices the best and most efficient they can be. Blatant paranoia dressed up as concern “for the children” can be counterproductive to successful re-entry to society. At least don’t hide behind other people’s kids in doing so. It’s a needed service, and if the USA wants to consolidate the offices into an area that’s close to the courthouse and accessible by bus and subway, makes sense. I suppose people would be equally aghast at putting it next to Susan McKinney, for consistency’s sake?

  • Curmudgeon

    How about putting these institutions in the neighborhoods where the criminals come from ? Isn’t that fair? And don’t worry, those who have paid their debt to society NEVER would think of doing anything illegal again.
    And don’t start with the “white people” crap. That is known as racial profiling and racism!

  • uncomfortable

    check out the article about this in the Brooklyn eagle.

  • JJD

    Sometimes I do wonder if you would say the same things if you would have to post with your real name and an actual picture of you.

  • Concerned Parent

    It’s heartening to see Attica offer the single clear-headed voice in this conversation of paranoia and ignorance (beginning with BHB’s astoundingly offensive post title). As a father of a young girl, I have become increasingly fearful of raising her in the Heights environment which seems wrought with snobbery and ignorance towards those SEGREGATED from our community. The attitude of people who discuss fellow citizens, such as the parolees at issue her, as less than human is one I do not want my daughter to ever be comfortable with.

    Nancy, you only show your own ignorance in your post by making a vague and easy “Ratner” comment, rather than addressing any substantive or specific issue in this question of human rights (both those of parolees and our children).

    Curmudgeon, I’m sure you see the obvious hypocrisy of accusing Attica of racial profiling in a post in which your write “How about putting these institutions in the neighborhoods where the criminals come from ?”

    I would ask you all to consider the assumption of the “other” that you are making and to look again at this knee-jerk dismissal of the very human beings you live among.

  • Jazz

    CP, once again you demostrate BH’s lack of understanding Homer’s ironic sensibility regarding the headline.

  • Concerned Parent


    I apologize if Fink’s perhaps too subtle irony was lost on me (his post is clearly critical of the facility’s location). But the hilarity of his headline aside, there is obviously a serious topic at issue here. I’d be much more interested in hearing your opinion about the new parole facility, rather than a defense of Homer Fink’s comedic repertoire.

    Should we legitimately fear this facility, or is this another case of neighborhood xenophobia?

  • No One Of Consequence

    IMO, residents and parents of students at St. Ann’s have a right to voice concern. Tuition at St. Ann’s doesn’t come cheap, nor does real estate in BH. It’s a matter of protecting your assets and best interests. If paying a premium doesn’t get you what you bargained for, it’s not a bargain. To pretend that this is a classless society is ignorant.

    Not saying that parolees shouldn’t be treated fairly, nor that they no longer pose a threat. but acknowledge that they are out on parole which means that the prisons are too full to accommodate them, not that they have “repaid their debt to society” nor necessarily been reformed.

    Regarding the Atlantic Ave. House of Detention. It’s been a jail and should be used as such if needed. For those purchasing new luxury apartments in close proximity, that has to factor into part of the equation, regardless of what any broker or salesperson might tell you about it being converted into something else. Until something else goes up in its place, the risk of it being used again as a jail remains.

  • Jazz

    CP – The Eagle article says it all. This is no big deal. It’s a consolidation mostly of things already happening in our neighborhood. I’m pro-parole, pro-jail. Heck, I’m sure a lot worse (and “deviant”) behavior happens in the apartments surrounding all of our schools than will occur in these facilities.

  • holysh*t

    “in the neighborhoods where the criminals come from”

    Exactly. A violent criminal (and note I really do separate this from drug crimes — end the war on drugs) can never repay his or her debt to society. If you’ve robbed, raped, killed, assaulted, it should be jail for life. That simple. It’s not wrong or racist for people who are productive members of society to not want to see where they live defiled on behalf of scum.

  • Concerned Parent

    Jazz – well put. There should be no issue here. The parole office presents no real threat but brings our neighborhood’s insecurities and prejudices to light.

    No One of Consequence, your acceptance of society’s ills is saddening. It is indeed ignorant to believe that we live in a classless society. But, your argument doesn’t explain why the fact the class difference exists means that we ought to behave in such a way as to reinforce those differences (which happens all too often in Brooklyn Heights).
    Using prejudice to judge our neighbors in the name of “property values” is a sad choice indeed. The prevalence of this type of attitude is exactly what concerns me about raising my daughter in the Heights. It presents a far greater threat to her well-being than a well-guarded parole facility located near an expensive prep school. (We do live on the same block as St. Ann’s, btw.)

  • nancy

    Yes I do address human rights, as I am exercising my right of free speech. Any time any one voices a legitimate concern over an issue, they are jumped on for racial profiling. Get over it. Talk about knee jerk reaction; not liking a parolee center next to a school with little children (of all colors and ethnicities) makes you a racist. No it makes you a concerned parent. You don’t know me, my family or who we are, so how dare you? And I have seen these parolees in action before meeting their officers; have you? You can make your own “vague and easy”comments about what I think or say,though, right? I am entitled to my feelings and opinions, as are you. If there are going to be sex offenders, even more reason why it needs to be stopped. There is a lot of space not in school areas where this facility should be. And CP, I assume you are in Brooklyn Heights because it is a beautiful neighborhood, relatively safe. You certainly didn’t pick it for low housing prices or the prevalence of the excellent public schools. I applaud Sen Connor’s office. Off my soapbox, and that’s it for me.

  • Concerned Parent

    Nancy, I’m sorry if you found my ideas personally offensive, but I am trying to address a legitimate concern I have about the attitudes of our neighborhood, and certainly did not intend to attack you ad hominem but to address the ideas that you publicly offered and that I see as invalid and hurtful. An open message board like this is certainly a testament to our right to free speech (I’m not sure if it’s necessary to point out that we’re exercising that right) but, Nancy, I’d exhort you to actually consider the concepts of human rights we’re dealing with here rather than claiming the fact that your retention of human rights (free speech) somehow indicates your neighbor’s own human respect is protected (his or her pursuit of happiness).

    I understand that you care dearly for you family and your real estate investment, but I’d also ask you to consider the implications of your fearful claims. Making broad statements about a large group people rarely leads to accurate claims or claims that strengthen communities. Prejudice leads to fear and division.

    (And, yes, although I think it’s a perhaps impertinent fact, I have had extensive and personal engagement with citizens who have been admitted to our penal system.)