The Department of Correction confirmed that a Rikers Island inmate had passed away, marking the second city jails-related death in the year 2024. The individual, identified as 30-year-old Manuel Luna, was discovered unresponsive in his George R. Vierno Center cell by correction staff just before 9 p.m. on the aforementioned day.
Upon the discovery, immediate medical attention was sought, and personnel provided aid to Luna. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, Luna was pronounced dead shortly after their arrival. The Department of Correction issued a statement indicating that the cause of Luna’s death is currently under investigation, shedding light on the gravity of the situation.
Regrettably, Luna’s demise follows closely after another tragic incident earlier in the month. Chima Williams, 43, passed away on January 4th after collapsing while engaged in a basketball game with fellow inmates. These untimely deaths within the first 19 days of the new year underscore the pressing concerns surrounding the welfare and safety of inmates within the city jail system.
It is noteworthy that the city jails experienced a concerning trend in the previous year, with a total of nine inmate deaths recorded. Moreover, the year 2022 witnessed a distressing total of 19 city jails-related deaths, encompassing instances where inmates succumbed shortly after their release from custody. The current circumstances call for a thorough examination of the conditions within city jails to address the ongoing challenges and ensure the well-being of those in custody.