Rikers Island

Another Inmate Dies at Rikers, Increasing Year's Total to at Least 11

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Another person in custody at Rikers Island has died, according to the New York City Departments of Correction.

The inmate has not been identified and their cause of death is under investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The DOC said the person was "not feeling well" on Sunday night and he was reported to the jail's clinic where CPR was administered. He was then pronounced deceased at 7:25 p.m.

“Providing for the safety of incarcerated people is our core mission, and I am heartbroken that we have seen yet another death of a human being entrusted to our care. The causes of this death so far appear to be natural, but that doesn't change the fact that we have serious issues in our jails," Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in the death announcement.

Ten other inmates have died this year, at least five in suspected suicides, amid a spike in violence and self-harm that advocates and a federal monitor said has been fueled by chronic staff shortages.

At one point during the summer, more than one-third of the city’s jail guards were on sick leave or medically unfit to work with inmates, and some guards have been missing shifts without any explanation.

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday signed a bill reforming the state parole system. Lamenting the “volatile” situation at Rikers, she said too often “parole becomes a ticket back into jail” because of technical violations like drinking or missing appointments.

The reform bill, known as Less is More, doesn’t take effect until March 2022, but Hochul said she was directing the state’s parole board to release 191 people immediately. In addition, she said about 200 sentenced inmates would be moved from the city’s Rikers jail to state facilities in coming days.

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