Tuesday, November 30

Another dead on Rikers Island: 12 this year; Congressmen Call for Total Release of Prisoners Due to “Humanitarian Crisis” in New York’s Largest Prison

Another inmate died yesterday in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) on Rikers Island, the largest jail in New York City, authorities confirmed.

“I am devastated to see that we have another death in custody and I am determined to stop this one. heartbreaking trend ”, Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in a statement cited by Pix11. “We are doing everything possible to remedy the unprecedented crisis that we are experiencing in our prisons. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the deceased person.

DOC officials said the unidentified inmate I was in custody in a celfloating day at the “Vernon C. Bain Center” and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead yesterday around 10:50 am The cause of death remains under investigation and the identity of the victim has not yet been released. He is the 12th inmate to die at Rikers this year. The New York Times.

Amid the chaos on Rikers Island has been created a vicious cycle of absenteeism and violence, prompting Governor Kathy Hochul to authorize the release of more inmates, trend that had already come from the pandemic to avoid contagion. But in turn, the NYPD and other critics have denounced the effect of the legislation ‘Less is more‘in the rise of crime and homelessness in the city, as apparently has already happened since 2020.

On Tuesday, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), Jamaal Bowman, Nydia Velázquez and Jerrold Nadler, all Democrats representing five-county areas in the National Congress, sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Hochul requesting that the prisoners held in the chaotic Rikers Island prison be released “immediately”.

“We strongly believe that those detained at Rikers should be immediately released and the facility closed,” the letter says, cited by New York Post. “It has become apparent that conditions at Rikers … are deplorable and nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.”

The mayor yesterday rejected the demands of the Democratic legislators calling for an instant release of all Rikers Island detainees due to the increasingly dangerous conditions in the jail, refusing to “just open the doors.”

“That’s not going to happen,” De Blasio said during his daily press conference, which was held remotely from Queens Borough Hall. However, in the past he himself has been in favor of other mass releases. “Respect for the member of Congress and her colleagues who signed that letter, [pero] I couldn’t disagree with them more (…) It’s not going to happen, it’s not the right way to handle things, ”he insisted to the mayor.

In late August the mayor blamed the growing violence in NYC on the lack of trials carried out by the state criminal system, paralyzed by the coronavirus, stating that in total only 18 verdicts were issued in the first half of this year. The number is staggeringly low compared to 405 sentences during the same run-up to the pandemic, in 2019.

Another alarming report from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) warns that NYC district attorneys last year refused to prosecute detainees at nearly double the 2019 rate, leaving 6,522 suspects out of judgement. In total, public prosecutors dropped all charges in 16.9% of the 38,635 felony cases that were closed in New York City during 2020.

In the recent past, various factors that analysts, union leaders, politicians and the citizens themselves have linked to the rise of violence Are the controversial bail reforms in NY state in force since January 2020 with the support of then-Governor Andrew Cuomo; the massive liberation of prisoners to avoid contagion by the coronavirus; the mental health crisis with more homelessness on the streets and the Metro; and the reduction of funds to the police promoted by De Blasio himself.

At the end of August it was also announced that the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), the largest jail in Manhattan, known as the “New York Guantánamo”, will be closed at least temporarily, after several scandals and complaints about its operation.


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