Ashlee Rosado

Rikers Island – the most important jail in NYC – has caught the attention of the media throughout these previous years due to the lack of neglect and excessive force from staff to the prison population. The number of mentally ill inmates has grown over the years to more than 40 percent; considering the growth of the mentally ill, staff members are not trained to deal with the population. For example, in the article Rikers Island, a script from 60 minutes by the producers Deirdre Cohen and Sarah Koch, was aired last month, April  17, 2016, an inmate Bradley Ballard went into cardiac arrest after spending days without his life supporting medication for diabetes. In addition, Ballard was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. Staff members walked by his cell on the daily basis but failed to help Ballard; considering the neglect, no one was charged against the charges.

“New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s report found 77% of the injuries involved mentally ill inmates and their injuries were severe enough to need medical treatment outside of the jails medical office.” Bradley Ballard is one example of the many incidents that occured on Rikers Island; all in all, the system needs to change because its inhuman to watch someone die without trying to help – especially those who are mentally ill. As a human service student I think inmates have made bad decisions but they do not need to die due to the negligence or excessive force from staff members. On the other hand, I believe Rikers Island need to hire more correctional officers and mental health professionals because they seem to be understaffed and individuals with mental illnesses need to receive treatments for their needs. in addition, correctional officers needed additional and proper training in order to better the tactics used for dealing with the variety of inmates in Rikers Island.

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