NEW YORK - Another Rikers Island inmate has died. That brings the number of dead for this year to 11 at the troubled jail complex.
Isaabdul Karim, 42, died at a jail infirmary just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday, the Department of Correction said in a news release. (The department initially gave his name as Karim Isaabdul but a spokesperson later said Isaabdul Karim was the correct name.)
"The cause of this death so far appears to be natural, but there is nothing natural about what is happening in our jail system right now," Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in a statement.
Karim was taken to the infirmary after he reported that he was not feeling well, department officials said. He was given CPR, but he was later pronounced dead.
The city medical examiner’s office will determine Isaabdul's cause of death.
The death came days after both Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans to improve conditions at Rikers Island, where longstanding problems have worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.
De Blasio's planned reforms include requiring absent jail guards to get a doctor’s note if they’re out for more than a day.
Hochul signed a bill on Friday that largely eliminates the practice of incarcerating people for technical parole violations. She ordered 191 inmates to be released almost immediately.
Karim had been in custody since Aug. 18 and was being held on a state warrant for a parole violation, the Department of Correction said.
De Blasio said Karim was not on a list to be transferred out of Rikers under the new state law. "But we are investigating everything related to that tragedy," the mayor said. "It’s horrible. We want to know what happened here and why."
City officials have blamed the crisis on absenteeism at the jail complex. The city filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing the Correction Officers Benevolent Association and its leadership of condoning a campaign of absenteeism among correction officers.
Union president Benny Boscio Jr. called the lawsuit "meritless."
This article has been corrected to show the inmate's name is Isaabdul Karim, not Karim Isaabdul as the Department of Correction initially said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.