A tragic case of inmate abuse in New York City has left the family members of a 24-year old inmate grieving for years. Aris Hiraldo was incarcerated in the Rikers Island jail facility in 2011 after being charged with assaulting his girlfriend. He was placed on suicide watch shortly after entering the facility because remarks he made suggested he was a danger to himself. A short time later an appointed social worker deemed the watch unnecessary and it was cancelled. Just ten days after, Hiraldo hung himself with the drawstring from his jail-issued sweatpants.
Now, years after Hiraldo’s tragic suicide, his family finally has some sort of closure. Their years-long court battle with NYC has come to an end and the city has agreed to pay $380,000 in connection with the case.
The family had previously filed an inmate abuse lawsuit in New York City court alleging that corrections officers and jail administration personnel were still aware that Hiraldo was a danger to himself even after the suicide watch had been cancelled. In court, the family brought up phone recordings made inside Rikers Island and monitored by jail staff that clearly showed the victim was suffering from suicidal ideation. Yet even with this red flag the suicide watch was not reinstated.
Corrections officers inside Rikers Island have a duty to protect the inmates in their care but all too often we hear of stories of abuse, neglect, and deaths while victims are in custody. In this case, the evidence presented was enough to pressure NYC into paying but not enough for them to admit any wrong-doing.
If you’ve been incarcerated in Rikers Island and have been injured because of a corrections officer’s actions or neglect, contact an experienced New York City inmate abuse attorney immediately.