​Mentally Ill Rikers Island Inmate Died After 7 Days Alone in Cell

Last September, a mentally ill Rikers Island inmate died after he'd been locked alone in his prison cell for seven days. By the time prison staff took him to a hospital, Bradley Ballard, who was schizophrenic, was naked and covered in his own feces, with a rubber band tied around his infected genitals.

Authorities say the 39-year-old had been denied some of his medication for most of his weeklong stay in solitary confinement.

From the Associated Press:

Guards confined Ballard to his cell on Sept. 4 after he stared for hours at a female officer, rolled up his shirt to look like a penis and thrust it toward her, Potler said.

The next day, [Cathy Potler, executive director of the city Board of Correction] wrote, Ballard intentionally flooded his combination sink-toilet, after which a mental health provider spoke with him for 15 seconds through the cell door. The next day, a plumber turned off the water to his cell.

Over the next few days, guards and deputy wardens looked in his cell dozens of times throughout the day, Potler wrote, and the inmate was at times seen at the door.

On Sept. 10, video of an inmate delivering a tray of food to Ballard's cell showed the inmate covering his nose with his shirt and three officers backing away, "presumably because of the foul odor coming from the cell," Potler wrote.

That day, prison staffers checked on Ballard more than 20 times, and he was eventually taken for medical treatment. Prior to the 10th, however, mental health staffers visited Ballard's cell just once during his seven days of confinement, despite city laws mandating twice-daily visits from mental-health officials to the prison's mental health ward.

On September 11, Ballard died in a hospital; the medical examiner's office told the Associated Press more tests are required to determine the cause of death, though they believe Ballard succumbed to sepsis.

Ballard died just six months before another mentally ill Rikers Island inmate, Jerome Murdough, "basically baked to death" in his jail cell.

[Image via AP]