Karim Isaabdul, a 42-year-old man incarcerated on Rikers Island, died on Sunday evening, the tenth fatality the Department of Correction admits took place in its custody this year.
According to corrections authorities, Isaabdul wasn’t feeling well and was taken to a clinic where medical staff attempted to perform CPR. He was pronounced dead around 7:25 pm.
“Providing for the safety of incarcerated people is our core mission, and I am heartbroken that we have seen yet another death of a human being entrusted to our care,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. “The causes of this death so far appear to be natural, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have serious issues in our jails.”
Isaabdul was in Department of Correction custody for little more than a month, held for a parole violation.
Earlier this month, twenty-four year old detainee Esias Johnson died of an apparent drug overdose at another Rikers’ facility. In two separate incidents in August, Segundo Guallpa, 58, and Brandon Rodriguez, 25, were found dead in their cells in apparent suicides.
“No person should ever have to die in jail or prison. It is outrageous that another person has just died while in the custody of [the] NYC Department of Correction this year,” State Senator Julia Salazar said in a written statement. “The death of each of the individuals who have died in custody this year is the most severe indication of the crisis in our city’s jails on Rikers Island. Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Corrections, District Attorneys and our state government must take further action to release people, mitigate this crisis and save lives.”
On Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Less is More Act, legislation that will limit the number of people held for technical parole violations, a measure that won’t go into effect until March 2022. She also announced that she directed the state parole board to release 191 Rikers detainees, and transfer around 200 others to state facilities to relieve concerns of overcrowding.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declined to use his authority to grant work release to dozens of detainees serving misdemeanors, but has promised other reforms, such as emergency contracting for cleaning facilities and building more medical clinics on Rikers Island.