NYC Jail Boss Explains How Prisoner Died in Overheated Cell
A malfunctioning damper diverted heat to the top level of a two-tier observation unit where a city official told The Associated Press a mentally ill, homeless veteran inmate “basically baked to death” in a cell that was at least 100 degrees last month, the head of New York City’s jails system told lawmakers Thursday.
Acting Department of Correction Commissioner Mark Cranston, testifying before the City Council’s committee on fire and criminal justice, said outside consultants found that a gauge on the lower level, which was calling for the heat, failed to register the high temperature on the upper level.
Fan belts on the roof of the Rikers Island unit where 56-year-old former Marine Jerome Murdough was found dead were also “faulty,” Cranston said.
“My condolences go out to the Murdough family,” he said. “I think it’s a terrible situation and I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”