NEW YORK (PIX11) — Many of the issues at Rikers Island, including inmate deaths, are directly linked to how long detainees are housed at the troubled jail facility, according to DOC Commissioner Louis Molina.
More than 500 inmates at Rikers have been there for more than two years and 800 people have been there longer than one year, Molina said in an interview on PIX11 Morning News Monday.
“One of the problems is that we’re a temporary detention center,” Molina said, adding the rest of the criminal justice system is not adjudicating the cases quickly.
Last week, a correction officer at Rikers Island was stabbed more than a dozen times by an inmate, officials said. The officer has since been released from the hospital and the assailant has been rearrested and charged with attempted murder, Molina said.
The assault happened just a few hours after detainee Gilberto Garcia, 26, died at the Anna M. Kross Center around 12:50 p.m., officials said.
Garcia’s cause of death remained under investigation. He was the 16th person to die in Department of Correction custody this year. Two other inmates died this year shortly after they were granted a “compassionate release.”
Garcia had been in custody since Nov. 2 of 2019 on a robbery charge, officials said.
Watch Molina’s full interview in the video player above.