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‘Heartbreaking’ – Inmate advocates address Rikers Island death; 6th inside NYC jails this year

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By News 12 Staff via News12

The New York City Department of Correction announced another death at Rikers Island, marking the sixth incarcerated individual to die in a New York City jail this year.  

According to the DOC, 44-year-old Curtis Davis was found unresponsive in his jail cell at 5 a.m. on July 23. They say he received immediate medical attention but was pronounced dead less than an hour after being found.  

“It’s heartbreaking,” said advocate Melanie Dominquez of The Katal Center, an organization fighting to end mass incarceration. “Under Mayor Eric Adams’ watch, there have been 26 people who have died… these are 26 human beings, 26 human lives who have families and loved ones.” 

Fellow Katal Center member Henry Robinson is a former Rikers Island inmate. He says that the jail fosters a dangerous environment.

“What people don’t know is at Rikers, we have officers and individuals who are humans like you and me, that have good days and bad days like you and me – but in an environment that creates more bad days than good,” said Robinson.  

Mayor Eric Adams addressed the concerns about Rikers Island on Monday, saying each and every death should be taken seriously.  

According to the DOC, one assistant deputy warden and two officers were suspended for potential violations related to recent inmate deaths.

Leaders of The Katal Center want a federal receiver to be appointed to take over Rikers Island and improve its conditions and reduce violence.  

The cause of death for Curtis Davis has not yet been released.

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