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In the latest gruesome dispatch from the clusterfuck that is America’s corrections system, the Associated Press reported last week that Jerome Murdough, a mentally ill former Marine, “basically baked to death” in his 6-by-10 cinderblock cell in Rikers Island.
According to the AP, Murdough, who was homeless and on anti-psychotropic and anti-seizure medication, had been at Rikers for about a week, after being picked up by police in February on a misdemeanor trespassing charge for sleeping on the roof of a Harlem housing project.
On the night he died, Murdough had complained of being overheated. Because he was housed in a special unit for mentally ill inmates, officers were supposed to check on his cell every 15 minutes, but instead he was ignored and left alone.
When his cell was finally opened, four hours later, Murdough was already dead, and his internal body temperature and the temperature in his cell were at least 100 degrees. The incident is horrifying, but also perhaps unsurprising, given the grim—and often deadly—conditions for mentally ill inmates at big urban jails like Rikers Island.
The number of mentally ill people housed in American prisons and jails has “skyrocketed” over the past few decades, said Bandy Lee, a professor of psychology at Yale University who specializes in violence at prisons and jails.
Murdough’s death, Lee said, “is actually a natural consequence” of putting mentally ill inmates in facilities that are neither designed nor equipped to deal with them. “It’s evidence of the level of ignorance that corrections officers have of the mentally ill.”
A medical journal corrects an obituary from 1858:
More than 150 years later, and 200 years after Snow’s birth, The Lancet has finally decided to set the record straight. In a recent article, “after an unduly prolonged period of reflection,” the journal finally comes clean, lightheartedly admitting that “some readers may wrongly have inferred that The Lancet failed to recognise Dr Snow’s remarkable achievements in the field of epidemiology,” as well as “his visionary work” in discovering how cholera is spread.
This just in from the Department of Clarifications, the above has been added to our interview with Grover Norquist, Washington’s most visible anti-tax lobbyist, and a guy who knows a thing or two about “poopy-heads.”
Hey guys! We’re trying something new today! At 1 pm ET we’re going to our first Tumblr book club chat.
Hopefully all of you have gotten to or close to page 88 in our first book, ‘Gold’ by Chirs Cleave. What do you think so far? Tell us! We’ll start posting your thoughts, questions, etc. at 1 pm ET today. See you, on our Tumblr page, then!
Correction: We’ll be starting at 3 pm ET, but start submitting your thoughts and questions now!
Our bad. We’re starting at 3 pm ET now. But feel free to start sharing your thoughts now!
Ha. Thanks for the fix.