A New York prison inmate died in a hospital on Friday from a medical problem, the city’s corrections department said. This is the 15th death of an inmate in the city this year, tying the total for 2016.
Malcolm Boatwright, 28, was taken out of town struggling Rikers Island prison complex at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan on Thursday and was pronounced dead in hospital just after 5:30 a.m., officials said.
Boatwright had been in jail since November 12, following his arrest for sexual abuse. He was due in court on Monday and was also due to be sentenced in a 2013 case, both in Brooklyn, according to court records.
A message requesting comment was left for Boatwright’s lawyer. Officials said they would release more details after an investigation was concluded.
Correctional Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in a statement that Boatwright’s death “is a heartbreaking loss at the end of a very difficult year. My deepest condolences go out to those close to Mr. Boatwright.
The city’s prison system, troubled by years of neglect, degenerated into restlessness during coronavirus pandemic with an increase in inmate deaths, violence, self-harm and staff absences.
There were seven inmate deaths in 2020, three in 2019, eight in 2018 and six in 2017, according to the Corrections Department.
Among the deaths this year, at least one man died shortly after being released from prison on compassionate grounds. Another was removed from the resuscitation system after attempting to hang himself in a detention area at Manhattan Criminal Court.
This week, the union representing the city’s correctional officers filed a complaint, asking to block city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal employees. Prison workers faced a November 30 deadline to get at least one dose of vaccine or risk suspension without pay.