NYC reveals eighth death in DOC custody so far this year

The city’s Justice Department announced Tuesday that an eighth inmate has died in custody so far this year — his second death in less than 48 hours.

Albert Drye, 50, succumbed to death in the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital around 11:30 a.m. after being transported to the infirmary from Rikers Island earlier in the day, the DOC and prison said.

Drye, who had two pending charges of assault and gun possession in Manhattan and the Bronx, had previously been housed at the Eric M. Taylor Center since arriving in Rikers in mid-May, records say.

The cause of his death was not immediately clear, but EMTC has been severely understaffed of late, dealing with an increase in lacerations, stab wounds and overcrowding problems in its admissions unit, the Board of Corrections announced last week.

A BOC member said the EMTC’s admissions unit is so understaffed that most new inmates to the prison are not subjected to body scans upon arrival to look for drugs, weapons or other contraband, adding to overall security concerns at the troubled prison complex.

The average rate of slashing and stabbing injuries at EMTC so far this year has been higher than the department-wide rate, and in three separate incidents in May, detainees in unsupervised residential areas were injured so badly they were taken to the hospital, BOC said.

The revelations prompted DOC Commissioner Louis Molina to suddenly shut down the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Friday and transferred a number of senior staff to the EMTC to help with the problems, internal records obtained by The Post show.

Drye is the eighth Rikers Island inmate to die so far in 2022 and the second in the past two days.
Drye is the eighth inmate to die in custody so far in 2022 and the second in the past two days.

Early Monday morning, 39-year-old Anibal Carrasquillo died of a possible drug overdose after he was recently moved by the OBCC to another residential area that was also understaffed, prison sources said.

Two doses of Narcan, used to reverse opioid overdoses, were used on Carrasquillo but he could not be saved, sources said.

He is the third inmate to die from a suspected drug overdose so far this year.

Fentanyl, a potent and deadly opioid, was “circulating” through the prison, sources noted, and was difficult to find due to the agency’s ongoing staffing crisis, limiting the DOC’s ability to conduct searches.

“We are both heartbroken and outraged to learn of Albert Drye’s death. … To date, DOC has refused to provide Mr Drye’s attorneys with the most basic information about his death, and it is an all too common scenario that we – along with the client’s family members, friends and community – are routinely exposed to in these tragic situations are situations,” the Legal Aid Society, which represented Drye, said in an email.

“We demand immediate responses from the city and prison medical staff about the circumstances leading up to Mr. Drye’s death, and we again call on elected officials, prosecutors, courts and other stakeholders to facilitate releases from local prisons, spending her final moments in a cage in a facility grappling with a full-blown humanitarian crisis before another New Yorker did.”

Meanwhile, Molina issued an almost identical statement to the one he released Monday after Carrasquillo’s death.

“Any death in custody is a tragedy and it is disheartening to hear of the death of that person,” Molina said.

“To learn that a loved one has died while incarcerated is not only devastating but also extremely traumatizing. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who loved this person.” NYC reveals eighth death in DOC custody so far this year


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