Another incarcerated man died while in custody on Rikers Island, the New York City Department of Correction announced on Friday.
The detainee was pronounced dead at the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC) at 10:13 a.m. on July 15. The cause of death is under investigation with confirmation pending from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
This individual is the 11th to die while incarcerated in New York City in 2022. The detainee’s identity is being withheld pending notification of the deceased’s designated contact.
“We are extremely saddened by yet another death in custody. No one should have to experience the loss of a loved one while incarcerated and we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe and prevent further losses,” said DOC Commissioner Louis A. Molina. “Any death in custody is intolerable and we are investigating both of the deaths that occurred this week aggressively.”
This marks the tenth death in Rikers Island this year, and the second this week. On July 10, Elijah Muhammad, 31, was the ninth person to die on Rikers Island, and reports say that he died of a fentanyl overdose and was allegedly unresponsive for several hours before he was found by a correction officer.
All deaths in custody are first investigated by the State Attorney General’s Office and the NYC Department of Investigation.
“I’m just so frustrated that after yesterday’s rally, we wake up to news of another dead incarcerated New Yorker. Judges, prosecutors, and every elected official in the state and city need to act now,” said Anisah Sabur, #HALTsolitary Campaign organizer. “They need to release people immediately and use alternatives to incarceration because they cannot keep people alive on Rikers Island and in other city jails. Right now, officials are failing to address the root causes of peoples’ behaviors, to say nothing about the epidemic of wrongful arrests. They’re just sending people to these jails to die. Stop sending people to these jails to die.”
“What do judges and prosecutors have to say to the thousands of New Yorkers who are terrified that their loved one will be the next to die on Rikers?” said Darren Mack, Co-Director of Freedom Agenda. “What does the mayor have to say to the thousands of people who have been treated as guilty until proven innocent and are now abandoned on an island without basic services because guards don’t feel like coming to work? A place where 11 people have died in 7 months, 27 since last year, is not a jail, it’s a death camp.”
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams released the following statement regarding the death:
“Last week, our city learned that ten deaths in only seven months is not enough loss, enough grief, enough pain for our jails to finally change. After the loss of Elijah Muhammad, we joined together in mourning and to demand more and demand better, and to hope that ten deaths would bring about the bold reforms New York City jails need, that this moment commands. Today, an eleventh person died while Rikers remains in crisis, a moral blight on our city and an immediate danger to everyone on the island. Another family is grieving, another community is in crisis, trauma endlessly compounding trauma. This is the fourth death in city custody since the courts approved the mayor’s action plan. It’s being reported that the eleventh death, like the tenth last week, was an overdose. There is no reason someone should die of an overdose while in city custody. It’s a failure on so many levels: a failure to keep opiates from entering the facility, a failure to properly supervise detainees, and a failure to swiftly provide lifesaving medical care to those who need it. To stop the endless loss, New York city jails must immediately expedite decarceration efforts, resolve significant staffing shortages and finally end solitary confinement. We must protect our neighbors’ lives and safety as we work toward ultimately closing Rikers permanently. Today, I pray eleven deaths is enough for urgent and radical reform.”