Rikers Island sees first in-custody death of 2023 as prisoner dies in infirmary

A 65-year-old Rikers Island prisoner died whereas being cared for at an infirmary on Saturday morning, making him the first inmate to die in custody on the penal island this yr.

Marvin Pines, 65, had been jailed since Aug. 3, 2022 after his arrest in Manhattan on prison sale of a managed substance.

He died on Feb. 4 at about 6:18 a.m. at Rikers’ North Infirmary Command. Moments earlier, the Daily News reported, Pines had been discovered unconscious in the bathe space after having suffered an obvious seizure.

Pines’ physique was transferred to the Medical Examiner’s workplace for an post-mortem to find out the precise trigger of death. 

“Any death in custody is a tragedy,” Metropolis Correction Commissioner Louis Molina stated in a press release Saturday. “We sincerely send our deepest condolences and sympathy to Mr. Pines’ family and loved ones. As with all deaths in custody, we are working with our partner agencies to conduct a full investigation.”

As famous, Pines was the first Rikers inmate to die in custody on the facility in 2023. Thirty-six individuals have died on the beleaguered facility since 2021, together with a record-breaking 19 final yr, as prison justice advocates have repeatedly condemned inhumane and violent circumstances on the island that endanger inmates and corrections officers alike.

In a January interview with amNewYork Metro, Molina stated the Correction Division has labored to boost the standard of life at Rikers in accordance with the federally-approved enchancment plan. He noticed that the DOC was having explicit hassle guaranteeing that inmates meet their medical appointments, which has contributed to emergencies and deaths, as a result of some inmates have resisted.

“They might be refusing because the experience of waiting for medical services is unpleasant,” Molina stated in the interview. “They might refuse because it’s in conflict with a court date. They might refuse because their loved one is visiting that day. They might refuse because there is vocational training that they’re taking and they value that more than going to, you know, get their eyes checked for whatever reason to get glasses.”

However former Rikers inmate Darren Mack of the Freedom Agenda, a nonprofit working to have the jail shut down on or earlier than its scheduled closure in 2026, charged that “Pines was killed by a criminal legal system that has no regard for human life – from police, to courts, to DOC.”

“At 65 years old, he was sent to a penal colony that is utterly failing to provide medical care or safety for anyone,” Mack stated in a Feb. 4 assertion. “Mayor Adams wants New Yorkers to look away from these tragedies by telling us that people held at Rikers are ‘bad people,’ but we know Mr. Pines was a human being, he should be alive, and our city failed him. Dozens of families are grieving the loss of their loved ones in the custody of this city, and the mayor is still encouraging judges and prosecutors to send more people to this death camp, instead of investing in solutions for real community safety.”

Pines’ death, together with all in-custody fatalities, can be investigated by each the town’s Division of Investigation and the state Legal professional Common’s workplace.

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