Dec 11, 2021 10:06 UTC
  • 15th inmate dies this year amid crisis in New York City jail system

A New York City jail inmate has passed away at a hospital after experiencing a medical issue, becoming the 15th prisoner to die in the city’s crisis-ridden jail system.

Malcolm Boatwright, 28, died on Friday after he was taken from the Rikers Island jail complex to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan Thursday night, The Associated Press reported.

Boatwright had been incarcerated at the jail since November 12, following his arrest on sexual abuse charges. He had a court appearance scheduled for Monday and was also due to be sentenced in connection with a 2013 case.

Corrections Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said that Boatwright's death "is a heartbreaking loss at the end of a very difficult year. My deepest sympathy goes out to Mr. Boatwright's loved ones."

Officials said they will release more information about Boatwright's death when an investigation was complete.

The Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defender organization, said in a statement that Boatwright’s death was the latest horrifying consequence of failure to address the abysmal conditions in New York City jails.

The situation in the New York City jail system, troubled by years of neglect, was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic with a spike in inmate deaths, violence and self-harm.

In addition, the system has also suffered from severe staff shortages, with reports saying that as many as 1,000 corrections officers called out sick every day at one point early this year.