Mental health care on Rikers: New York’s largest psychiatric provider
Rikers Island is one of the largest psychiatric care providers in the country, and it is the largest psychiatric provider in New York City. Half of Rikers’ population in the previous fiscal year had a mental health diagnosis – about 2,780 people – and 16% had a serious mental health diagnosis. In the face of the immense responsibility of caring for those people in custody, some lawmakers and criminal justice advocates said the city was flat out failing.
“For the people that have to be escorted down to get their medications, things like alarms, things like insufficient DOC escorts, will hinder that availability of medications,” said S. Lucas Marquez, associate director of civil rights and law reform at Brooklyn Defender Services. “Someone might be labeled as ‘not treatment compliant,’ but it actually just turns out that they haven’t had the opportunity to be given their medication, as opposed to a refusal (of it).”
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