Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Corrections Commissioner Under Fire for Treatment of Mentally Ill

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TWC News: Corrections Commissioner Under Fire for Treatment of Mentally Ill
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There is friction between the Board of Corrections and the city's new Jails Commissioner over a recent decision to move dozens of mentally ill inmates at Rikers Island to solitary confinement.

Last month, Commissioner Joseph Ponte moved as many as 47 inmates suffering from mental illness into solitary confinement, in what he called an effort to stem violence at the jail.

Board of Corrections members grilled the commissioner yesterday, saying moving the inmates without clearance from a mental health clinician is a violation of the minimum standards and city law.

Board members say while in solitary, mentally ill inmates are denied medication, are vulnerable to seizures and overheating in cells.

The recent deaths of two mentally ill prisoners at Rikers has sparked calls for reform.

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