Mentally ill man found dead at Rikers Island jail just 2 days after being incarcerated there


A mentally ill man awaiting trial on petty larceny charges at New York’s Rikers Island jail died just two days after arriving, the New York Daily News reports.

He was found hanged in his cell Monday evening.

Jairo Polanco Munoz, 24, reportedly had a “serious mental illness” but was put in the jail’s general population upon his arrival at the site in New York City’s East River. He was unable to be fully evaluated by a psychologist, the News reported, after the jail was been put on lockdown following an inmate-on-inmate stabbing earlier in the day.

But an unnamed medical staffer told the News he should not have been put in gen-pop and should have been evaluated right away; Munoz had tried killing himself this past April while incarcerated at an unspecified facility on other charges.

“All someone had to do was review the chart,” the staffer told the News. “He was left to die.”

His death is now the second suicide in the past three months at Rikers “involving a medical mishap tied to a jail lockdown,” the News said.

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the idea of closing Rikers, which last year came under federal sanction for a wave of inmate deaths, unrealistic.

“There is a certain appeal to the notion of starting over,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters while promoting his $2.5 billion plan for a Brooklyn-Queens streetcar line. “The problem is, it would cost many billions of dollars, and I have to look out for what’s feasible and I have to look out for the taxpayer.”

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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