Fourth suicide since June at Hudson County, New Jersey jail
31 March 2018
Last week, 26-year-old Carlos Borroto was found dead in his cell at Hudson County Corrections and Rehabilitation Center in Kearny, New Jersey, a suburb of Newark. He had tied a laundry bag around his neck and hanged himself from his bed. His death marks the fourth suicide, and sixth death overall, at the jail since June 2017.
The act of desperation cannot have taken prison officials by surprise. When officers of the West New York police department arrested Borroto on Friday, March 23, on open warrants, he yelled, “I want to jump off a bridge!” The officers brought Borroto to Palisades Medical Center, where he was evaluated and released into police custody. He had been charged with domestic violence, aggravated assault, animal cruelty, and resisting arrest.
While he was being processed for incarceration, Borroto told correctional staff that he had mental health problems. If the staff had properly reviewed their records, they would have known that in May 2017 Borroto had told medical personnel at the jail that he had suicidal thoughts. But, overlooking his previous report of suicidal thoughts and his current complaint of mental health problems, the staff assigned him to the general population instead of to a mental health ward.
In response to Borroto’s death, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise issued a hypocritical statement of outrage. After he met with staff at the jail on Monday, the county ended its $29.4-million contract with CFG Health Systems, which had provided medical care at the jail.
Borroto’s suicide is only the latest product of the criminal neglect and inadequate health care that has persisted for years at Hudson County jail.
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