NEW YORK — At least five people have died by suicide while detained on Rikers Island since December 2020, and the number of self-harm incidents has significantly spiked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a phenomenon that is also happening in other city-run facilities.

According to internal numbers, city jails recorded 539 incidents of incarcerated people hurting themselves between April and June of this year. This pushes the rate of self-harming cases to 95 out of every one thousand detainees, the highest in the last five years.

Officials on Rikers Island have cited a rising inmate population and staffing shortages for the uptick in self-injuries.

Dr. Virginia Barber Rioja and Dr. Bipin Subedi — co-chiefs of mental health for Correctional Health Services, the agency that manages health care in city jails — joined NY1 political anchor Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” on Friday evening to talk about the crisis unfolding on Rikers.


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Watch the full interview above.


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