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Today in Inmate Abuse: A Severed Finger and Rat Poison

03.10.15 Liam Mathews

Two more horrifying complaints against the Department of Corrections and its contractors have recently been filed. DNAinfo reports that court documents claim a doctor at the Manhattan Detention Center told an inmate to “throw part of his severed middle finger in the garbage” after a corrections officer accidentally crushed it in an electronic door, and Capital reports that a group of inmates at Rikers Island filed suit against the DOC for allegedly feeding them rat poison-laced food during last week’s lockdown.

The MDC suit, which was filed in January, alleges that Dr. Landis Barnes, a Corizon Health employee working at the jail, told Rudolph Richardson that his finger could not be reattached and should be thrown away. Richardson had to beg Barnes to put the finger on ice. Richardson was then locked in a room rather than provided with medical attention after he asked to file an incident report, the complaint alleges.

Richardson, who was being held on charges of criminal mischief, was eventually taken to Bellevue Hospital, where his finger was reattached.

This is the second suit alleging mistreatment of inmates by Corizon to surface this month.

At Rikers, a suit filed on Monday “alleges that a meal of meatloaf and cabbage served last Tuesday was tainted by a blue-green foreign substance, which caused nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms among 19 inmates,” according to Capital.

The plaintiffs believe that this substance was rat poison. A DOC spokesperson told Capital that while they believe the plaintiffs are lying, they are investigating the matter.

“The treatment of inmates is becoming an epidemic,” the plaintiffs’ attorney Joann Squillace told Capital. “People think—because they’re inmates—they can be treated any which way the Department of Corrections wants. We don’t get to treat them with excessive force or denial of medical care, and certainly not with some type of contaminated food, in an effort to get even more back at them. That’s not how society works.”

(Photo: Ken)