New York Attorney General Letitia James is calling for the federal takeover of Rikers Island following a recent death, Gothamist reports. Like other critics, AG James, in a detailed letter, calls for the city to transfer the Rikers facility to an independent third-party. This is the first time her office has publicly called for federal receivership.
On Oct. 5, Manish Kunwar – a 27-year-old who suffered mental health issues – died in a mental observation unit while in custody on Rikers Island. A death report sent to the prison’s oversight agency, the NYC Board of Correction, noted that no mental health specialist was working the night Kunwar died and that the on-duty officer failed to check for signs of life every 15 minutes, as required. Kunwar was the ninth person to die in Department of Correction custody this year. Since January 2022, 28 DOC detainees have died and the city's jail system had itshighest detainee death rate in a quarter-century last year.