crisis at rikers island

Another Rikers Island Inmate Dies While in Custody at Embattled Jail Complex

This latest death marks the 14th death of someone in custody this year. Another two individuals passed away after receiving compassionate release

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What to Know

  • Another Rikers Island inmate has died Tuesday -- marking more than a dozen deaths of individuals in custody at the complex.
  • This marks the 14th death of someone in custody this year. Another two individuals passed away after receiving compassionate release.
  • William Brown, 55, was in custody at the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC) when he was found to be in medical distress, according to the Department of Correction.

The number of deaths among individuals in custody at Rikers Island continues to climb as another inmate at the jail complex passed away Tuesday night.

This latest death marks the 14th death of someone in custody this year. Another two individuals passed away after receiving compassionate release.

William Brown, 55, was in custody at the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC) when he was found to be in medical distress, according to the NYC Department of Correction (NYC DOC). Although, CPR was administered and a medical emergency was activated, Brown was pronounced dead around 11:46 p.m. 

The cause of death is under investigation with confirmation pending from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Department of Correction said.

According to DOC, Brown was in custody since Nov. 14. It is unknown what charges he faced. 

Brown’s next of kin and attorney of record have been notified by DOC, the agency said.

“I am devastated to know that another person entrusted in our care has passed away. We will work diligently to determine the circumstances surrounding his death. My deepest sympathy goes out to Mr. Brown’s loved ones," DOC Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in a statement.

DOC said that further details will be released once a full investigation has been conducted.

Brown's death comes mere days after another inmate died Friday at a hospital after experiencing a medical issue, the city’s Department of Correction said.

"They didn't know what to do with us," says Jermaine Archer, who caught COVID while incarcerated at Rikers Island. The New York City jail holds people pretrial and has faced criticism for deaths and crowded conditions. NBC New York's Kay Angrum was live outside after 2 counter-protesting groups spoke on behalf of corrections workers and the incarcerated.

Malcolm Boatwright, 28, was taken from the city’s troubled Rikers Island jail complex to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan on Thursday and was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 5:30 a.m., officials said.

The mounting death of inmates at the city's embattled jail is the latest tragedy in the face of efforts by local and state officials to clean up the island complex.

Rikers Island, which holds people pretrial, is facing a crisis with disturbing allegations of sex assault and harassment of female correction officers, crowded conditions, understaffing, lack of food and rampant COVID spread.

Additionally, dozens of women inmates at Rikers Island have signed a petition opposing the recent decision to temporarily move them to state facilities, NBC New York has learned, claiming that the move is "silencing us, hiding us, abusing your power."

The troubling allegations have prompted citizens and officials to call for its closure.

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