måndag 24 mars 2014

USA: Psykiskt störd hemlös krigsveteran "ugnsbakad" till döds i 45-gradig fängelsecell

En psykiskt störd hemlös man som anhållits och låsts in för ett oviktigt bagatellbrott "ugnsbakades" till döds i en 45-gradig fängelsecell på Rikers Islands, New York. Kritiker säger att mannen aldrig borde ha arresterats överhuvudtaget och att USA:s myndigheter är ansvariga för mannens död. Enligt AP så lider 40% av de 12 000 fångarna på Rikers Islands av diverse allvarliga psykiska sjukdomar...

RT 2014-03-19
A mentally ill veteran was “basically baked to death” in his Rikers Island jail cell last month as temperatures reached more than 100 degrees, a New York City official told the Associated Press.

According to four unnamed city officials, 56-year-old James Murdough reportedly did not open a vent in his cell that would’ve allowed for cool air to flow in and lower the temperature, something most inmates did. The officials also stated that no one checked on Murdough’s condition for hours, which constitutes a violation of standard procedure.

Originally placed on Rikers Island for observation purposes, Murdough reportedly took anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medicine. He was previously charged with trespassing, and was located in the prison unit responsible for handling those with mental illnesses.

The officials stated that Murdough’s medication potentially made him more susceptible to heat, while early reports from the autopsy conducted suggest he died of extreme dehydration or heat stroke. The medical examiner’s office, however, officially stated that further tests were necessary in order to pinpoint the cause of death.

While the Department of Corrections has initiated an internal investigation into the matter, the New York City justice system is coming under fire for what’s being billed as a failure on every level.

Advocates for mentally ill inmates argue that Murdough should have not been arrested in the first place, and that his bail should not have been set at an unreasonable level. Meanwhile, the observation unit charged with supervising mentally ill inmates is being criticized for failing to do so properly.

"- So Mr. Murdough violated the trespass law. So he suffered the consequences by going to jail," attorney Jennifer Parish of the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project told the AP. "But the jail system committed more serious harm to him. And the question is, 'Will they ever be held responsible?'"

When Murdough was found dead in his cell, it had been four hours since authorities last checked on him. By this time, the officials said both the temperatures in the cell and in his internal body were at least 100 degrees. Even that number could have potentially been higher since the cell was closed off for hours beforehand.

Corrections Department spokesman Robin Campbell admitted the temperature was “unusually high,” but that the necessary action has been taken to address the issue. Standard procedure, meanwhile, dictates that inmates in the mental observation unit need to be observed every 15 minutes as part of a suicide watch.

According to Murdough’s mother, Alma, her son suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She had not seen him in three years, and was informed of his death only after the AP contacted her about the situation last week.

"He was a very lovely, caring guy," she told the news service. "He had beer problems. Drinking beer. That was his downfall. Other than that, he was a very nice guy. He'd give you the shirt off his back."

New York City Board of Correction member Catherine Abate stated recently that Murdough should have been referred to a psychiatrist after his most recent arrest rather than placed in Rikers Island.

- According to the AP, approximately 40 percent of the 12,000 inmates in the facility are mentally ill, with many critics suggesting the staff on hand is not trained adequately to monitor and care for them.

One of Murdough's sisters, Wanda Mehala, said that the family is demanding answers regarding her brother's death.

"We want justice for what was done," she said. "He wasn't just some old homeless person on the street. He was loved. He had a life. He had a family. He had feelings."

Uppdaterad 2014-11-01
RT 2014-11-01
The mother of a former Marine with mental health problems who died in over 100-degree heat at Rikers Island will receive $2.25 million from New York City. The family originally planned to sue for $25 million.[...]

USA: Psykiskt störd hemlös krigsveteran "ugnsbakad" till döds i 45-gradig fängelsecell

2 kommentarer:

  1. --Mother of mentally ill vet who ‘baked to death’ in jail cell suing New York--

    May 16, 2014

    The mother of a mentally ill inmate who baked to death in an overheated New York City jail cell earlier this year now says she will seek $25 million by way of a wrongful death lawsuit.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the woman, Alma Murdough, plans to soon file suit against the city of New York

    Her son, 56-year-old Jerome Murdough, was found dead in a 100-degree Rikers Island jail cell in February. He had been arrested on Feb. 7 on a misdemeanor trespassing charge, the AP reported, and was unable to make $2,500 bail.

    Eight days later, jailers found him near the foot of his bed with “a pool of vomit and blood on the floor," according to court documents filed last month in a separate case, AP’s Jake Pearson wrote.

    According to that filing, Mr. Murdough had an internal body temperature of 103 degrees four hours after he was discovered unresponsive in his cell.

    "He basically baked to death,” a city official told Pearson back in March.



  2. ---Mother whose son ‘baked to death’ in prison is awarded $2.25 mn---

    RT November 01, 2014

    The mother of a former Marine with mental health problems who died in over 100-degree heat at Rikers Island will receive $2.25 million from New York City. The family originally planned to sue for $25 million.

    Jerome Murdough, a 56-year-old veteran, was arrested in early February for sleeping in the stairwell of the roof of a Harlem apartment. He was charged with a trespassing misdemeanor and bail was set at $2,500. Unable to afford bail, he was sent to the Rikers Island prison complex.

    A week later, the mentally ill Murdough was found dead in a mental observation unit that city officials said overheated to at least 100 degrees, apparently because of malfunctioning equipment.

    "Mr. Murdough essentially got the death penalty simply for being arrested for trespassing," commented Derek Sells, the family's attorney. The family had planned to sue to city for $25 million, according to the New York Daily News.

    In the announcement of the $2.25 million settlement, city controller Scott Stringer made a public apology to Murdouch’s mother, Alma.

    "On behalf of the City of New York, I'm sorry, Ms. Murdough, for your loss...I hope that in some small measure, it will provide closure for Mrs. Murdough and her family," he said.




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