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NY lawmakers probe care for mentally ill inmates

Published:Thursday | November 13, 2014 | 11:36 PM



Lawmakers plan to examine mental illness among inmates in New York's prisons and jails, hearing from authorities and advocates following reports of afflicted prisoners getting inadequate care.

The episodes include an ex-Marine whose death alone in an overheated cell at New York City's Rikers Island was first detailed by The Associated Press.

The joint hearing by the Assembly committees on correction and mental health calls for testimony about troubled inmates' status statewide and prison alternatives, treatment, recidivism and recovery efforts.

The hearing will examine Rikers Island and other local jails, where suspects go while awaiting trial or serving shorter sentences.

City Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte is to testify.

The committees note that about 9,300, or 17 percent, of state prison inmates are diagnosed with a mental illness and get treatment.