According to a study published on Wednesday by a municipal oversight body, seven detainees died in New York municipal’s dysfunctional jail system in the latter half of 2022 due to a litany of administrative Department of Prison mistakes.
The NY City Commissioner of Correction noted in the 35-page report that the department’s 19 part-custody fatalities in 2017 were caused in part by the inexcusable actions of correction officials who failed to properly oversee detainees or give first assistance.
Inmates Michael Nieves, who Kevin Bryan, who is Gregory Acevedo, Leonard Robert Pondexter, Javier Tavira, Gilberto Garcia, who was and Edgardo Mejias were the subjects of this report’s investigation into their deaths.
There were three suicides among them. Fentanyl overdose, anoxic brain damage, and drowning were the other causes of death reported. The cause of a single fatalities was deemed undetermined.
On The Evening Of October 22nd, Tavira Hung Himself With A Bedsheet
The investigation claimed that in some of these instances, officers’ violations of policy contributed to the detainees’ deaths.
On August 25, Nieves, a prisoner in the facility, used a razor supplied by the guards to shave with to slit his own neck. There were three people who were employed by the prison unit at the time.
A history of anxiety, impulsivity, and suicide ideation marked Nieves’s life. When the guards demanded the razor back, he said he’d misplaced it.
Neither Nieves nor the corrections officials could locate the knife until nearly an hour later, when Nieves used it to slash his own neck.
According to the complaint, a police officer saw him bleeding but made no attempt to stop the bleeding or provide first help. Instead, he and his fellow guards waited nine minutes for medical help to come.
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Five days later, he passed away from his injuries. A captain and two officers were eventually suspended for their behaviour.
A 26-year-old prisoner named Gilberto Garcia died on October 31 from a fentanyl overdose on Rikers Island, and the investigation pointed to a number of lapses on the part of the DOC that contributed to his death.
The “B” station officer responsible for Erick Tavira’s mental observation unit at Rikers Island’s George R. Vierno Center was regularly absent from his station instead of making the mandatory 15-minute rounds.
According to the study, “‘B’ post personnel operate within the housing area, contact directly with persons in detention, and are their initial line of action in any situations.” Constant presence of personnel and vigilance on the part of police are necessities.
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When Asked For Comment, The Doc Remained Silent
The city’s main legal aid group, the Criminal Justice Aid Society, advocated for the federal takeover of the violent prison system a year ago.
However, a federal court in Manhattan ruled against the proposal, citing concerns that convicts would lose out if a takeover occurred.
A “comprehensive, holistic” assessment of fatalities that occurred while people were in prison was recommended in the study.
Timely death review gatherings that cover the factors surrounding each dying, what functioning or clinical issues might have been determined, and how the two departments can work in tandem in order to avoid further incidents are recommended in the report to be held by the DOC, the parole board, and the municipality’s Corrections Health Services.
According to the report, DOC failed to produce Tavira for mental wellness follow-up for a month after he was moved from mental surveillance home to general population confinement in September of 2021.
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A Captain And Two Corrections Officers Were Placed On Suspension
In the five-month time frame, three inmates committed themselves; one from severe fentanyl intoxication; one from sudden cardiac death and a respiratory embolism; and one from drowning. There was a death whose cause of death is still unknown.
According to the document, Tavira was detained for 16 months, Gilberto Garcia for three years until his death on October 31, and Nieves for 3 decades and five months. Detainees spend over a year on average before going to trial, which is far longer than the norm in comparable jurisdictions.
It further said that the DOC should “guarantee that corrections officers and captains undertake frequent tours and personally oversee inmates in detention, in line with DOC’s own standards.”
In addition to whatever independent review any agency may undertake, “it is fully up the authority of the BOC to organize the Board’s death reviews as quickly as it desires,” the statement reads.
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The Center for Health Statistics said in its rebuttal that it disagreed with the report’s conclusions, arguing that the board had omitted information and misrepresented different points of view. Furthermore, the report argued that the board had the power to schedule the debriefing sessions it requested.