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NYC Comptroller Releases New Monthly Data on Department of Correction Operations with New Charts Tracking Deaths in Custody

New York, NY — Today, the New York City Comptroller’s Office released its monthly update to the Department of Correction (DOC) Dashboard, available here. New this month, the Comptroller’s office includes two regularly updated charts related to deaths in custody from the past several years: a timeline of deaths by race/ethnicity and cause of death, respectively.

Last year, DOC stopped consistently notifying the media when an incarcerated individual dies – a troubling development from a transparency and oversight perspective. Two people reportedly died in custody since the beginning of 2024. On January 4, Chima Williams collapsed on the basketball court, and on January 19, Manuel Luna died after found unresponsive in his cell.

“We cannot manage what we cannot measure, and so my office will fill this oversight gap through the new additions to our DOC Dashboard,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Awaiting trial at Rikers should not be a potential death sentence, and DOC should not hide people’s deaths, and dangerous conditions, under a shroud of secrecy. If DOC won’t inform the public about the deaths occurring under their custody, my office will – by tracking and identifying those wrongly killed under the City’s watch.”

Key monthly DOC metrics show:

  • As of February 1, the number of people housed in DOC jails was 6,167, an increase of 148 from the previous month as fewer individuals were released in January.
  • In January, admissions to DOC jails increased by 316 people from December, totaling 1,929 – the largest admissions increase since March 2023.
    • Discharges decreased by 11 to 1,743.
  • Incarcerated persons missed medical appointments 11,930 times in December 2023, a 15 percent decrease compared to November.
    • This was a decrease not seen since September 2023 and the fewest missed medical appointments since June 2023.
  • Violence within DOC jails decreased slightly in January compared to the previous month:
    • 36 assaults on staff occurred, 2 fewer incidents.
    • Slashings and stabbings totaled 29, down 1 incident.
    • Fights decreased to 438, 20 fewer fights than in December.
  • 417 officers (7%) were on sick leave in January – 8 fewer officers from the previous month.
  • 5% of officers were on medically restricted leave – those with serious physical or psychological limitations who cannot work with people in custody – as of December 2023.

The Comptroller’s dashboard, first published in August 2022, 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.

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