New York – Another Rikers Island prisoner has died. This takes the death toll in the troubled prison complex to 11 this year.
The Department of Corrections said in a news release that 42-year-old Karim Isabdul died in a prison hospital just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The cause of this death so far appears natural, but there is nothing natural in what is happening in our prison system right now,” Corrections Commissioner Vincent Shiraldi said in a statement.
Department officials said Isabdul was taken to the hospital after he told that he was not feeling well. He was given CPR, but was later declared brought dead.
The city’s medical examiner’s office will investigate Isabdul’s cause of death.
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The deaths came days after Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans to improve conditions in Rikers Island, where problems have long worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.
De Blasio’s planned reforms include requiring absent prison guards to receive a doctor’s note if they are out for more than a day.
Hochul on Friday signed a bill that substantially eliminates the practice of imprisoning people for technical parole violations. He ordered the release of 191 prisoners almost immediately.
The Department of Corrections said Isabdul had been in custody since August 18 and was placed on a state warrant for parole violations.
Rikers Island prison spirals into chaos amid pandemic
De Blasio said Isabdul was not on the list to be moved from Rikers under the new state law. “But we are investigating everything related to that tragedy,” Meyer said. “It’s terrible. We want to know what happened here and why.”
Officials said Isabdul’s family and his lawyer on record have been informed.