Eric Adams, Louis Molina can’t hide the horrors in NYC jails
Mayor Eric Adams and Correction Commissioner Louis Molina boasted last week of their progress in restoring safety to the city’s jails. Interesting timing: Three people died over just days around the same time while in the custody of Molina’s agency. Maybe boasting wasn’t such a great idea.
- At the start of the week, Anibal Carrasquillo, 39, became the seventh detainee to die on Rikers Island this year; he died of an apparent drug overdose in his cell. Drug overdose? How does that happen in a jail?
- The next day, Albert Drye, 50, succumbed at the Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward; his cause of death is unclear.
- The day after that, Antonio Bradley, 28, died from injuries sustained when he hanged himself in a Bronx court holding cell eight days previously.
Meanwhile, The Post reported that one Department of Correction facility, the Eric M. Taylor Center, has been so severely understaffed that most new admissions aren’t body-scanned for drugs, weapons or other contraband upon arrival — and that slashings, stabbings and overcrowding woes have surged.
Yet Adams claims he’s “pleased with what I’m seeing.” He pointed to the confiscation of 2,700 weapons at Rikers since February and reported that stabbings and slashings were actually down 63%.
Maybe so. Yet this year, detainee deaths in city jails are on pace to top the 16 in 2021. And the reports of violence are still beyond troubling.
The Post learned that Molina shut down the Otis Bantum Correctional Center this month and transferred a number of top staff members to EMTC in an effort to quell the violence. It’s a good start.
Clearly, Adams and Molina know the spotlight’s on them. They barely avoided a federal takeover of Rikers recently when a judge approved a plan letting them maintain control for at least the next few months.
And, in fairness, the de Blasio administration left them a royal mess, with staffing and other complex issues that aren’t easy to fix quickly.
But trying to put a happy face on the situation — even as three people die in a matter of days — is hardly the right response. They need to restore order fast.
After all, endless headlines about Rikers’ deaths will only push New York’s looniest progressives to argue that the jails are too unsafe for anyone to be sent to them — and they may well be right. What will Adams do to control crime then?