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RELEASE: Under Mayor Adams, Crisis Worsens at City Jails as Another Person Dies in Custody

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday,  March 26, 2024

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

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

Under Mayor Adams, Crisis Worsens at City Jails as Another Person Dies in Custody 

With at least 31 People Dead and Violence on the Rise Under Adams, Calls Grow for Federal Receiver to Intervene 

 Statement by the Katal Center 

New York, NY: On Friday, March 23, another person in the custody of the NYC Department of Correction died. Roy Savage, 51, was the 31st person known to have died in city jails or under DOC custody since Mayor Eric Adams took office. 

Under Adams, the crisis in NYC jails has worsened. Today, just days after the death, a new investigative article by Gothamist shows how over 700 women faced sexual abuse while incarcerated at Rikers. Abuse cases at Rikers make up more than half of all the cases filed in the state supreme court under the Adult Survivor Act. 

The death and sexual abuse cases come 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.

Today, it’s reported that Mayor Eric Adams is heading to Rikers Island to meet with incarcerated people. 

Statement from Melanie Dominguez,  Lead Organizer of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice: “It is heartbreaking that yet another person has passed away in our city’s correctional system. We send our condolences to Mr. Savage’s family. 

Our members, many of whom have been detained at Rikers or have loved ones at Rikers, are feeling immense pain and frustration from the consistent scandals and horrors unfolding at Rikers Island. Instead of working to address the horrible problems on Rikers and shutter the deadly jail complex, Mayor Adams has done everything in his power to keep Rikers open. He has worked to increase the population through regressive policing and slashing the budgets of alternatives to incarceration programs. He’s blocked or otherwise sought to hinder oversight and transparency efforts by both the city and federal watchdogs. Violence and dysfunction continue to reign supreme in city jails, including sexual abuse against women detained in city jails. And now, under this mayor, at least 31 people have died in city jails. 

Every week news continues to break about the horrors unfolding at Rikers. The situation is untenable and cannot continue like this – it will only lead to more death and harm. Rikers must be shut down. And until that happens, we demand immediate action to save lives. We urge the City Council to swiftly pass Resolution 183, which calls for a federal receiver to improve conditions until Rikers is shut down. The council can take this concrete step to help relieve suffering at Rikers and hold Mayor Adams accountable for the disaster in city jails unfolding under his watch.” 

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