Mayor Eric Adams issued a full-throated protection of the Division of Correction Wednesday, telling reporters “I’m actually happy with what I’m seeing” simply days after two detainees died inside 48 hours of one another.
“I simply need to take my hat off to the boldest,” Adams mentioned throughout a press briefing on Rikers Island after touring two services, the Robert N. Davoren Advanced and the Eric M. Taylor Middle.
“This has been an company that’s been ignored, this has been an company that regardless of all of the unfavorable information, they arrive on a regular basis and do the job. They maintain it down.
“This mayor will not be going to tear you down… I acknowledge your job, I acknowledge what you do and I’m saying, thanks for what you do.”
Earlier this week, two detainees died in custody, certainly one of a suspected drug overdose, which introduced the DOC’s whole dying depend to 9 up to now this 12 months.
“I simply need to take my hat off to the boldest,” mentioned Mayor Adams, referring to the Division of Correction. Gregory P. Mango
It’s shaping as much as be one of many deadliest years on document for the beleaguered company as fatalities proceed to outpace the variety of detainee deaths seen in 2021.
By this time final 12 months, solely seven detainees had died and by the top of 2021, the toll was 16, essentially the most the company has seen since 2013.
Hizzoner downplayed the string of deaths and whereas he did need to “acknowledge” them, he mentioned it’s vital to have a look at every one and “discover out what occurred.”
Earlier this week, two detainees died inside 48 hours of one another, certainly one of a suspected drug overdose. EPA
“Why did they die? What situation did they’ve earlier than they got here to Rikers?” the mayor questioned.
“As a result of Rikers didn’t give them coronary heart illness if that’s the explanation they died.”
A scathing Board of Correction report issued in Could discovered staffing shortages contributed to the primary three fatalities of the 12 months, together with the dying of Herman Diaz, 52, who choked whereas consuming an orange and was carried to the infirmary by fellow detainees.
This 12 months’s detainee fatalities are persevering with to outpace final 12 months’s.JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The fourth dying of the 12 months was 25-year-old Dashawn Carter, who hung himself in his cell two days after he was transferred from a psychiatric hospital on to a common inhabitants housing unit.
Two extra detainees died of suspected drug overdoses whereas one other was a suicide.
Particulars on the remaining two deaths weren’t instantly out there.
The mayor touted the restoration of greater than 2,700 weapons and different contraband that have been discovered throughout tactical search operations, which paused beneath former Mayor Invoice de Blasio. He additionally mentioned that since they resumed in late February, stabbings and slashings are down 63%.
“We’re seeing progress,” Adams insisted.
The remarks come as a federal takeover of the jail looms within the background after prosecutors and a federal monitor appointed to supervise the company discovered they’ve persistently didn’t rectify a string of long-standing points.
Earlier this month, Choose Laura Swain accepted a plan submitted by the DOC that outlined the steps they’ll take to repair the issues, which is anticipated to stave off a federal receivership no less than till November.
Mayor Adams resumed tactical search operations in February, recovering greater than 2,700 weapons and different contraband. Gregory P. Mango
When requested about workers absenteeism, one of many points plaguing the company that’s been cited in court docket, Adams famous 1,400 uniformed staff have come again to the job since Commissioner Louis Molina took over.
The Authorized Support Society lambasted the mayor in an emailed assertion, saying his refusal to “take accountability” for the deaths is each “irresponsible and callous.”
“That is emblematic of how Metropolis Corridor views incarcerated individuals as second-class residents, responsible till confirmed harmless and unworthy of compassion” the company mentioned.
“The terribly excessive dying charge on Mayor Adams’ watch, and the struggling of all who’re saved in abysmal circumstances inside, are a humanitarian disaster that this Administration appears incapable of rectifying any time quickly.”