Damning Report Blames Staff For Rikers Inmate’s Death

January 23, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

A report by the New York State Commission of Correction has urged the Justice Department to investigate possible civil rights violations in the death of a Rikers inmate, which resulted from “gross incompetence,” reports the New York Times. It is the latest damning report in a series that have, over the past six months, detailed the culture of violence, corruption, and poor hiring practices at the beleaguered correctional facility.

Bradley Ballard was admitted to Rikers for a parole violation in June 2013, and died on September 11 “after he was deprived of insulin for diabetes and locked in his cell without food or running water for nearly a week.”

From the Times:

The commission’s report, which is dated Dec. 16, and was obtained by The New York Times, though not released publicly, describes how a warden, an assistant deputy warden, guards, doctors, mental health clinicians, nurses and others made at least 57 visits to Mr. Ballard’s cell as he slowly deteriorated over a six-day period but did nothing to assist him.

The commission’s report makes clear that blame for the death lies squarely with the city’s correction and health agencies, as well as the private jail health contractor, Corizon Inc.

The Justice Department is looking into the case. Meanwhile, the Times is trying to determine if any of the Rikers officials or contractors were disciplined in response to the incident. Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said only, “We continue to investigate and have adjusted our practices to ensure that a similar tragedy does not happen again.”

(Photo: Matt Green)