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Another Person Dies While Detained at Rikers Island Jail Complex

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, October 5, 2023

Contact: Yonah Zeitz, yonah@katalcenter.org • 347-201-2769

Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter • #ShutRikers #CutShutInvestNY

Yet Another Person Dies While Detained at Rikers Island Jail Complex

Since Mayor Adams Took Office, At Least 28 People Have Died in NYC Jails

Death Comes As Federal Courts Consider a Receiver to Take Control of Crisis-Prone City Jails 

Statement by Katal Center 

New York, NY: This morning, news broke that Manish Kunwar, who was incarcerated on Rikers Island for just seven days, passed away at age 27. This is at least the 28th death in New York City jails since Mayor Eric Adams took office.

The death comes as there are growing calls from City and State elected officials, former Department of Correction commissioners, public defenders, and community organizations for the federal courts to appoint a receiver to improve conditions until the notorious Rikers Island Jail Complex is shut down once and for all. 

Statement from Sharlene Melendez,  Member of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice: “Hearing that yet another person died at Rikers is heart-shattering. In the course of only two years, at least 28 people have died in city jails under Mayor Adams’s watch. I am sending my deepest condolences to Manish Kunwar’s friends and family. Manish was dealing with a mental illness, and instead of getting the help he deserved, he was given a death sentence. The system failed him greatly. As a mother whose son is currently at Rikers, I feel so deeply for his mom. There is absolutely nothing that can be done now to ease her pain. How do you explain to a mother that her son died? Today we are grieving. We need the Mayor to stop killing our kids. No matter what you did, no one should have to pay for a mistake they may or may not have made with their lives. On days like these, I worry even more about the safety of my child. How are you supposed to show up to work with a heavy heart and mind? I remember when there was a shutdown at Rikers, and I heard that people were hurt. I immediately reached out to inquire if my child was hurt, and all they could say was even if he was, they would not notify me. The corruption and lack of accountability at Rikers is horrific. It starts with our mayor and everyone that comes down the line under him. Now more than ever, our communities need immediate action. Mayor Adams, you need to shut down Rikers not yesterday not tomorrow, but now. Until Rikers is shut down, I plead that the federal courts appoint an independent receiver to take control of Rikers to save lives. Enough is enough!”

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