The NYCLU filed a lawsuit against the Nassau County Correctional Center yesterday, alleging that the prison officials do not do enough to care for prisoners and respond to their complaints.
The lawsuit followed the apparent suicide on Feb. 24 of an Iraq war veteran after less than 24 hours in custody. The NYCLU's legal action demands that county officials establish a board to oversee and reform the jail.
"The recent deaths represent the latest chapter in a long saga of mistreatment and neglect at the jail," NYCLU senior staff attorney Corey Stoughton said.
The group wants the facility to establish an independent committee that would respond to grievances against the system. The prison established this type of committee in 1990 but it never was active, the NYCLU alleged.
The Iraq veteran, 33, hung himself in this cell, according to the NYCLU. He had been arrested for driving under the influence and speeding, and was in custody for less than 24 hours before his apparent suicide, according to the lawsuit. His mother, the lawsuit continues, intends to file a wrongful death suit against the prison, alleging that the jail failed to monitor and care for him.
He is one of seven who have died in custody since January 2010, including five suicides, the organization said.
Prisoners in pain
NYCLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of two prisoners, who said that the prison ignored their complaints and did not give them proper care.
One of the plaintiffs, Joseph Marone, said he was forced to wait weeks to see a nurse despite blood coming out of his left ear. He also was not X-rayed when he injured his ribs, which hurt him when he breathes, the NYCLU reported.
Another plaintiff, Paul Nantista, was unable to get a doctor to examine a broken toe, he said. "Living behind bars is hard enough without having your basic medical needs ignored," he said.
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