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Mentally Ill Inmate Dies Covered In Feces In NYC Jail Cell



After a mentally ill Bradley Ballard made an obscene gesture to a female guard at the Rikers Island jail, he was locked in his cell alone for seven increasingly agitated days in which he was denied some of his medication, clogged his toilet so that it overflowed, stripped off his clothes and tied a rubber band tightly around his genitals.

During that period, guards passed Ballard's cell in the mental observation unit dozens of times, peering through the window in the steel door but never venturing inside — until it was too late.
The 39-year-old Ballard was eventually found naked and unresponsive on the floor, covered in feces, his genitals swollen and badly infected. He was rushed to a hospital but died hours later.

In Ballard's case, his family said, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic more than a decade ago, and he also had diabetes Mental health staffers visited Ballard's cell only once before he was discovered to be in distress.

In a statement, Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said Ballard's death was an example of "non-communication between medical staff and uniform staff." He said officers can notify members of the medical staff, "but it's clearly up to them and solely them to determine treatment."
Ballard's death, though tragic, was unsurprising to those familiar with how the mentally ill fare in jails.

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