Half of the people currently detained in New York City jails have a mental health diagnosis. Since 2020, the number of incarcerated people with a serious mental illness in New York City jails has nearly doubled—from 672 to 1,207 people. The medical support offered to those in jail suffering from mental illness, however, has not seen corresponding growth. The number of medical appointments missed by those incarcerated in New York City is staggering: “the monthly number of missed medical visits has spiked by 21%, from 9,259 in August 2022 to 11,176 in June 2023, outpacing growth in the jail population.” There is a clear need for adequate mental health care in New York City’s jails that has been going unmet, and people are dying in the meantime. In an article for the New York State Bar Association, Patricia Warth, director of the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services, noted that “[t]he suicide rate in New York’s prisons is now at historically high levels, and often higher than the national prison suicide rate.”
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice website on November 22, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Leuty, Kathleen, "The Urgent Issue of Suicide in NYC Jails" (2023). ERSJ Blog. 62.