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Yet Another Human Being Dies While Detained at Rikers Island Jail Complex

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sunday, July 23, 2023

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

Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter • #ShutRikers #CloseRikers #CutShutInvestNY

Yet Another Human Being Dies While Detained at Rikers Island Jail Complex

Since Mayor Adams Took Office, At Least 26 People Have Died in NYC Jails

Death Comes Less Than a Week after the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Joined Calls for a Federal Takeover of Rikers

Statement by Katal Center 

New York, NY: This morning, news broke that Curtis Davis, who was incarcerated on Rikers Island, passed away at age 44. This is at least the 26th death in New York City jails since Mayor Eric Adams took office and the fourth death in July.

The death comes just days after Katal confronted Mayor Adams in downtown Brooklyn to demand that he address the crisis at Rikers. The confrontation was covered by Gothamist, ABC News 7, and Patch New York, and video of the confrontation was captured by reporters Chris Sommerfeldt (the NY Daily News) and Gwynne Hogan (the CITY). 

The death of Curtis Davis also comes less than a week after the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Damian Williams, called for a federal receiver, describing the situation at Rikers as “a collective failure with deep roots” and saying, “We cannot wait any longer for substantial progress to materialize.” Calls are growing for a federal receiver to take over at Rikers. In addition to the U.S. Attorney, federal receivership is supported by Vincent Schiraldi, former NYC Correction Commissioner; Elizabeth Glazer, the former head of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice under Mayor de Blasio; and both NYC Comptroller Brad Lander and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Currently, nearly 10 City Council members have co-sponsored a resolution that calls for a federal takeover at Rikers.

Statement from Janelle Roberts, Member of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice:

 “I want to send my deepest condolences to all the families that have lost a loved one in NYC Jails. We have lost 26 lives at the hands of this Mayor and the Department of Corrections. Enough is enough. The conditions at Rikers are horrific. My son is 20 years old and has been detained at Rikers for a year now. As a mother, I cannot put into words how scared I am for him. I don’t sleep at night worrying about his safety. No parent wants to ever get a call to let them know that their child has been hurt or worse that they have died. While detained at Rikers, my son has been injured badly twice. I have never felt so helpless and stressed in my life. Not being able to care for your child and get them the medical help they need is terrible. On my visit last week, I found out that there is no air conditioning and with the rising temperatures more people will get sick. 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. Mayor Adams, you need to talk to parents and understand what our communities need. We need to invest in our youth. The Mayor must decarcerate NYC jails and shut down Rikers. However, until Rikers is closed, the federal courts must appoint a receiver to take over and improve conditions for people who are detained or employed there.”

####ShutRikers #CloseRikers #CutShutInvestNY

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