DOC: 1st inmate death of 2023 reported at Rikers Island
The New York City Department of Corrections said Rikers Island reported its first death of 2023 after an inmate died in custody Saturday morning.
News 12 was told the inmate's name was Marvin Pines. He was 65 years old and died around 6 a.m. while he was in custody at the north infirmary command.
According to the DOC, Pines was in custody since August 2022 on a third-degree criminal sale of controlled substance charge.
The office of the chief medical examiner was still investigating a cause of Pines' death as of Saturday night.
Pine's death follows one of Rikers' deadliest years after 19 people died at the correctional facility or shortly after being released in 2022.
DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said in a statement, “Any death in custody is a tragedy. 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.”
Jail reform advocates, however, said an investigation will not solve the problems at Rikers Island. They said the facility should be shut down immediately before another death occurs.
"The mayor knows what Rikers Island is about. He knows the culture of violence, he knows how it is, but they continue to look for ways to send people there. Close it, close it down. Shut it down today. There's no fixing it, there's no reforming it. It just needs to be shut down," said Edwin Santana, of Freedom Agenda.
Advocates also called on Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul to take the budget intended for Rikers and use it instead towards improving the borough-based jails and mental health services.