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Another Detained Person Dies at Rikers Island Jail Complex 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 4, 2024

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

Follow on Twitter/X @KatalCenter • #ShutRikers #CutShutInvestNY

 

Another Detained Person Dies at Rikers Island Jail Complex 

Statement by the Katal Center 

New York, NY: This afternoon, news broke that someone detained at Rikers passed away this morning. This is the first death in New York City jails this year and at least the 29th since Mayor Eric Adams took office.

The death comes as there are growing calls for the federal courts to appoint a receiver to improve conditions and save lives until the notorious Rikers Island Jail Complex is shut down once and for all. 

Statement from Melanie Dominguez,  Lead Organizer of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice: “It is infuriating but at this point not surprising that yet another person has died at Rikers Island. For two years, Mayor Adams has done everything he can to send more people to the city’s deadly jail complex while cutting funding for essential services, alternatives to incarceration, re-entry programs, and more. Now days into the new year, yet another person has passed away at Rikers. It’s hard enough to be jailed at Rikers or have a loved one detained there, but to lose someone who is locked up is a nightmare. Our condolences go out to this man’s family. 

We’re not even through the first week of the new year and here’s another death at Rikers. This brings the death toll in NYC jails under Mayor Adams to at least 29. Since taking office, the jail population has been on the rise, violence in the jails is out of control, the death toll continues to climb, and the city is no longer on track to shut Rikers. This is an absolute scandal. 

Our communities demand immediate action to save lives. Rikers must be shut down. And until Rikers is shut down, the federal courts must appoint an independent receiver to take control of Rikers to improve conditions for the people who are detained there and those who work there. The New York City Council must now re-issue and pass the resolution introduced by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, which calls for federal receivership. 

Mayor Adams ended 2023 with an empty op-ed about closing Rikers. But we need to see action, not hollow words. In 2024, Mayor Adams must cut the number of people jailed in NYC, shut down Rikers, and invest in real public safety: housing, health care, education, and jobs.”

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