Rikers Island warden transferred after inmate's death in overheated cell - Metro US

Rikers Island warden transferred after inmate’s death in overheated cell

A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex, where a man was A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex, where a man was “baked to death” in a jail cell, according to an Associated Press report.
Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

The warden of a facility on Rikers Island is being transferred following the death of a mentally ill inmate in an overheated cell earlier this year, the city’s Department of Corrections announced on Thursday.

Rose Argo will be moved from the Anna M. Kross Center to a jail that does not house mentally ill inmates, according to published reports.

The department noted that although Argo was not directly involved in the incident, the staff did not follow basic procedures and there were managerial problems at the unit.

The inmate, Jerome Murdough, was found dead on Feb. 15 after being left for hours in his cell that reportedly reached 100 degrees. Officials told the Associated Press last month that the inmate “basically baked to death.”

According to the department, a supervisor in charge of the heating system is also being transferred and a correction officer who was on post when Murdough died has been suspended for a total of 30 days.

Murdough, 56, was a homeless veteran who had been arrested on Feb. 7 on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. He had been on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication which may have made him more vulnerable to the heat, officials said.

Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook said at a press conference on Thursday that officers only receive about 21 hours of mental health training.

“Correction officers are not psychologists, psychiatrists or doctors to be able to prescribe or to be able to identify those individuals who have serious issues,” he said.

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