Department of Correction Is No Longer Publicly Announcing Deaths of Inmates

Abdul Ghani

The municipal Department of Correction has abruptly ceased and will no longer notify the media when an inmate passes away.
Carrying a dead body.Photo byIsaac QuesadaonUnsplash

Frank Dwyer, the new DOC chief spokesperson, responded when questioned about the absence of public notification of recent fatalities in custody, "That was a practice, not a policy," After holding a comparable position at the Fire Department, Dwyer assumed control of the department's press office a few weeks ago.

Every time someone died while they were imprisoned over the previous two years, the department's PR team would issue a news statement. Basic information including the person's name, place of residence, and the date and time of death was frequently included in the announcement.

Two Deaths In The Past Two Weeks

However, over the past two weeks, the DOC has neglected to inform the public about at least two deaths, including those of Rubu Zhao, 52, who allegedly jumped from an upper tier of a Rikers Island specialized unit for people with mental illness on May 14, and Joshua Valles, 31, who passed away on Saturday after suffering a fractured skull that officials initially internally misdiagnosed as a heart attack.

Days before his passing, Valles was given a "compassionate" release from DOC custody.

Stanley Richards, who was an inmate at Rikers in the 1980s and later served as the department's deputy corrections commissioner for the final six months of former Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration in 2021, believes the department is moving in the wrong direction with its new death notification procedure.

Adams Administration On The DOC

Members of the Board of Correction, which regulates the agency, were unable to access real-time video surveillance from Rikers and other municipal jails under the Adams administration.

The board's new head, Dwayne Sampson, who was chosen by Mayor Eric Adams in September, also made an unsuccessful effort to cut the number of public meetings from nine to six each year.

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Member Of Freelancers Union (USA), Freelance Writer!, and Digital Creator. Ghani Mengal is an enthusiast Freelance blogger and digital marketer. His content has been published and featured on many popular blogs, websites, and publications. Including TeelFeed,, Data-Driven Investor, TextSniper, Scientific Publication The Predict, The Startup, The Ascent, Heart Affairs, Illumination, And The List goes on.


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