NEW YORK (PIX11) — For the second day in a row, a detainee died while in Department of Correction custody in New York City, officials said.
The individual died Tuesday morning at Bellevue Hospital’s Prison Ward, authorities said. It marks the eighth custody death of 2022. On Monday, an inmate died at the George R. Vierno Center in the Rikers Island jail complex.
“Any death in custody is a tragedy, and it’s disheartening to hear about the passing of this individual,” DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said. “To learn that a loved one passed away while incarcerated is not only devastating, but extremely traumatizing. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who loved this individual.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is working to determine the cause of death for both detainees. Neither individual has been publicly identified.
The Legal Aid Society identified the detainee as a client and said they were “heartbroken” by his death.
“We again call on elected officials, prosecutors, the courts and other stakeholders to facilitate the decarceration of local jails before another New Yorker has to spend their final moments confined to a cage in a facility grappling with a full-fledged humanitarian crisis,” the Legal Aid Society wrote in a statement.
The New York City Board of Correction found “longstanding issues” contributed to the first three DOC custody deaths of the year. The Rikers Island jail complex has been plagued by issues for years. In April, a US attorney made the case that Rikers should be under federal conservatorship. New York City submitted a plan to fix the jail, which was endorsed by a federal judge, effectively keeping control of the jail in the hands of the DOC and Mayor Eric Adams.