Legal Aid Society


LAS Decries Abrupt End to Public Notifications of Deaths in Custody

The Legal Aid Society is decrying a decision by the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) to abruptly end its practice of notifying the public of deaths in custody.

“This is another lowlight in the Department of Correction’s campaign to keep outside eyes away from the catastrophe that is the City’s jail system and the harm it inflicts daily on New Yorkers trapped inside its deadly walls,” reads a statement from Legal Aid.

“DOC has limited the New York City Board of Correction’s access to information, terminated long-standing services for incarcerated New Yorkers, attempted to bury damning monitor reports and now seeks to deny the public information about people who die in custody,” the statement continues. “The City cannot be permitted to isolate the jails from outside oversight, especially at a moment when so many of our incarcerated clients are vulnerable to suffering severe harm or even death.”

The DOC failed to report the recent deaths of Rubu Zhao, 52 and Joshua Valles, 31, according to reporting by THE CITY.

Legal Aid has reiterated its call for independent leadership of City jails in the form of a receivership with the authority and willingness to enact bold and swift change.