After reportedly making a lewd gesture toward a female corrections officer, one man suffered consequences that eventually led to his death.
According to The Huffington Post, Rikers Island inmate Bradley Ballard was found dead in a jail cell located in the mental observations unit of the prison. He was reportedly naked and unresponsive after being confined for seven days continuously. The 39-year-old mentally ill inmate was reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia and diabetes. Medical reports indicated that his likely cause of death was sepsis.
According to documentation obtained by The Associated Press, Cathy Potler, executive director of the city Board of Correction, compiled a detailed account of the events that led up to Ballard’s death. The information was based on an extensive review of prison records, surveillance footage, and inmate interviews.
On September 4 of last year, Ballard reportedly made the lewd gesture toward the female officer, which is why he placed in confinement. Ballard was reportedly denied his medications during that time. Out of agitation, Ballard had reportedly stripped naked, and had tied a rubber band tightly around his penis.
The surveillance footage often showed guards passing by Ballard’s cell and looking through the window. However, no one actually went inside the cell until it was too late. On September 11, Ballard was found unresponsive inside of the cell covered in feces. The report also revealed that Ballard’s toilet was clogged, which explains where the feces came from. His genitals were also swollen and severely infected as a result of injuries he suffered from the rubber band. He was rushed to a local hospital, but unfortunately he died hours later.
Ballad’s mother, Beverly Ann Griffin, spoke exclusively with Daily News about her son’s untimely death, and the prison’s alleged disregard for his suffering.
“He didn’t have to leave this world like that. They could have put him in a mental hospital, got him some treatment,” Griffin told the publication. “He was a caring young man.”
“He was a good-hearted person, and he didn’t have to die the way he died,” she said. “How can a human being do to another human being what they did to him?”
Ballard’s death, in addition to another incident where a prisoner “baked to death,” has prompted a oversight hearing, which is scheduled for next month.
“No inmate should be treated that way, especially those with mental health needs. The city has to do more to protect them,” City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said. “A lot of people who are in Rikers Island should be in a hospital, in a clinical setting, not in a jail.”
The New York city jail system is currently under scrutiny for their actions toward mentally ill inmates. Although Ballard made a poor decision with the gesture toward the officer, do you think Rikers Island should be held accountable for his death?
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