New York City

Rikers Inmate-to-Be Dies by Suicide as New Report Raises Alarm on Ongoing Jail Crisis

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Another person has died following a suicide attempt before he was set to be sent to New York City's main jail complex where 13 inmates have died so far this year.

According to the New York Times and multiple reports, Anthony Scott attempted to die by suicide at Manhattan Criminal Court after he was arraigned on an assault charge on Thursday. The 58-year-old, who was accused of punching a nurse at a hospital, died on Monday.

Scott's lawyer told the Times that he was on the autism spectrum and suffered from mental illness.

The Department of Corrections has yet to issue a statement on his passing, which came a few days after the death of Rikers inmate Victor Mercado. The 64-year-old was the 13th person to die in the city’s jail system in 2021. Mercado was held at Rikers Island since July, following his arrest on gun charges.

Attorney James A. Kilduff said Mercado — who had underlying health conditions and used a wheelchair in recent weeks — spent most of his time at Rikers in the infirmary. The attorney also said Mercado had contracted COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the DOC said Mercado’s death appeared to be “medical in nature” and the medical examiner’s office will determine what caused his death.

Meanwhile, the New York City Board of Corrections on Monday raised alarms about the ongoing crisis in city jails as it released a report on an 18-year-old inmate who attempted suicide on Rikers Island in November 2019.

According to the Board of Correction’s review, Nicholas Feliciano was hanging for 7 minutes and 51 seconds where correction officers could clearly see him.

"The attempted suicide of Nicholas Feliciano in November 2019 highlights many troubling aspects of New York City’s jail system relating to young adults, mental health treatment, self-harm, dangerous intake conditions, and poor supervision," the board wrote in its conclusion. "These conditions persist today."

Feliciano, who has a history of depression, ADHD, and past psychiatric hospitalization, survived the suicide attempt but he was left with severe brain damage, according to the report. He was discharged from DOC custody and transferred to Bellevue Hospital's traumatic brain injury rehab facility where he remains with no change in prognosis as of June 2021.

Three corrections officers and an intake captain were suspended for 30 days without pay as a result and investigations into the case are still ongoing.

Responding to the board's report, Feliciano's family says they want the officers in charge to be held responsible because Feliciano was supposed to be under their care.

“We feel some sense of relief that someone in the City government is finally telling us the truth about what happened to Nicholas,” said Madeline Feliciano. “I want these officers arrested. How can they still have jobs after what they did? Why have they not been charged?”

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