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DOC: Inmate dies on Rikers Island; sixth death in NYC jails so far this year

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By News 12 Staff via News12

An inmate at Rikers Island died Sunday morning, marking the sixth death at a New York City jail since this year started.

The Department of Corrections told News 12 that 44-year-old Curtis Davis was found unresponsive in his cell.

It said he received immediate medical care but was pronounced dead just minutes later.

According to the #HALTsolitary Campaign, Davis is the 26th death inside city jails since Mayor Eric Adams was inaugurated.

Davis had been in DOC custody since June 1, 2023. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Davis’s death also marks the fourth death of an inmate in New York City jails this month alone, according to the Katal Center for Equity, Health and Justice.

Rikers Island, which often sparks much debate in the city, has been under the microscope for quite some time.

Davis’s death comes less than week after U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, called for a federal receivership of the jail.

Earlier this month, a report from a court-appointed monitor on the conditions of Rikers Island cited that there were thousands of violations distributed across all facilities from January to April of 2023.

In response to this latest death, Janelle Roberts, a member of the Katal Center, stated in part, “People make mistakes in their lives, but they do not deserve to die. I don’t care who you are, we are all equal. Black and Brown communities deserve better. If this Mayor is for the people, then he needs to take action immediately.”

Just last week, the city issued a statement in regard to the receivership that said, “Real change has occurred since the action place was ordered by the court.”

The DOC added that Davis’s death is the sixth in custody death this year department-wide, while a seventh death did occur after an inmate was released on his own recognizance prior to that inmate dying.

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