New York City’s Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail

Rikers now has about as many people with mental illnesses — roughly 4,000 of the 11,000 inmates — as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined.

Rikers now has about as many people with mental illnesses — roughly 4,000 of the 11,000 inmates — as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined.

“At Rikers, inmates with mental health problems are especially vulnerable, often the weakest in a kind of war of all against all, preyed upon by correction officers and other inmates. The prolonged isolation, extremes of hot and cold temperatures, interminable stretches of monotony punctuated by flashes of explosive violence can throw even the most mentally sound off balance and quickly overcome those whose mental grip is already tenuous…”

 

The New York Times obtained documents that included a secret internal study (covering 1 Jan. 2013 – 30 Nov. 2013) that was completed by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. After obtaining specific information on 129 cases, The Times used the information to take an in-depth look at 24 of the most serious incidents. Among the findings was a critical portrait of guards on Rikers, who are poorly equipped to deal with mental illness. To read more about the horrific findings from the study, click here

Related Links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/nyregion/us-attorneys-office-reveals-civil-rights-investigation-at-rikers-island.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/05/nyregion/05rikers-report.html

 

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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