New York: After Department of Correction officials said that they would not continue a policy of reporting deaths to the public, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander updated the Comptroller’s Department of Correction (DOC) Dashboard to ”say deaths in custody were “unknown.”
In recent weeks, DOC officials failed to notify the public about at least two deaths: Rubu Zhao, 52 and Joshua Valles, 31. Jail officials reportedly also sought to prevent the release of a federal monitor’s report that noted with alarm on Friday, May 26 “serious and disturbing incidents involving harm to incarcerated persons” that were not properly disclosed to the monitor.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander reiterated his call for a federal receiver to step in to manage the city’s jails:
“DOC leadership apparently doesn’t care about the humanity of the people in its custody enough to even report honestly when they die. The appointment of a federal receiver to operate Rikers is a moral and operational necessity to confront the jail system’s utter disregard for transparency and accountability. The lives of people awaiting trial are not disposable and their deaths cannot be swept under the rug,” said Comptroller Brad Lander.
The Comptroller’s dashboard monitors pervasive issues in the City’s jails, including staff absenteeism, missed medical appointments, and incidents of violence among detained people and staff. It also tracks the jail population every month and length of stay. The Comptroller’s Office publishes data to this dashboard monthly to provide increased transparency and accountability over the City’s jail system. The most recent update was May 15.