A Rikers Island inmate who slashed himself with a razor and bled to death – allegedly as correctional officers looked on – was not handcuffed or thoroughly searched due to an apparent error in protocol, according to a source in the embattled prison complex.
Michael Nieves, 40, cut his throat in prison on August 25 after hiding a razor he was given that morning. He died on August 30 and is among 14 deaths incarcerated at the correctional facility this year, most recently on Wednesday when an inmate hanged himself in a prison staff toilet.
Nieves, who has been in jail since 2019 on burglary, arson and negligent endangerment charges, had previously been taken off suicide watch despite two failed attempts to take his own life, the source said.
He was held in the Rikers’ Program to Accelerate Clinical Effectiveness unit, which provides an elevated level of care for the mentally ill.
When a correctional officer asked Nieves to return the razor after a morning shower, he claimed he left it in the shower, according to the insider.
When the officer couldn’t find it, Nieves said the man who showered after him may have taken it, the source said.
A log book viewed by The Post and filled out by a correctional officer at 10:30 a.m. notes that Nieves “refuses to return a razor. … The area captain has been notified.”
But the captain did not come to the unit immediately, the source said.
The master only made log book entries in one book at 1100 and in another at 1114. And the captain didn’t immediately approve of Nieves being handcuffed and taken for a body scan to see if he was hiding the razor, the source said.
Instead, she instructed corrections officers to search his cell and that of the other inmate. Nieves was also scanned.
Less than an hour later, Nieves was found dying.
At 11:45 a.m., a correctional officer determined that Nieve’s blood had “leaked” and a medical emergency was activated. According to the log book, the rescue service only arrived at 12:30 p.m
There was also a delay in the response from the internal medical department, according to the source.
The captain did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
Patrick Ferraiuolo, the president of the Correction Captains’ Association, said he was unaware of a delay in the captain’s response and that they made the decision to first search both cells before taking inmates for scans.
“It would have been better to remove them immediately. I won’t deny that,” he said.
The death is under investigation and the Department of Correction would only say three uniformed officers remained suspended.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside of the five counties, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/17/rikers-island-kills-self-after-captain-skips-protocol-source/ Rikers Island kills itself after captain skipped protocol: source