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Prisoner Rights

Rikers Island is known to be one of the most rigid and tough jail complexes in the nation. Over the years, it’s also garnered a reputation of negligence and cruelty to its prisoners. Many people believe that these criminals should be thrown away without any rights because of their actions. Why should they get any of the rights as victims of their actions or free person? According to our Bill of Rights, every single citizen of the United States, guilty of a crime or not, is protected from cruel and unusual punishment. The founding fathers wanted to make it aware that in a civilized nation, the people can give each other a fair trial without having to injure the accused because of the hypocrisy of it all.

And while this is known, the conditions of Rikers Island are a reminder that over time, people have overlooked this right because of the emotions and leadership surrounding the jailing system. As of late, the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio has improved conditions in most New York City jails; however, stories such as Carlos Mercado slip through the cracks and shows the public how flawed the system really is.

Wrongful Death

Carlos Mercado was arrested in Brooklyn after allegedly trying to sell a small amount of heroin to an undercover police officer. On June 22, 2013, he was taken to Rikers and died within 15 hours of being admitted because of complications associated with diabetes. Unfortunately, it was seen on a jail surveillance video that he was clearly walking haphazardly while also carrying his vomit in a plastic bag. Eventually, Mercado falls to the floor and isn’t assisted for quite some time, even though there are correction officers all around. Even after the guards finally helped him up, other inmates told the state that all throughout the night, Mercado was requesting medical assistance because he was having withdrawal symptoms due to his disease. They never gave him the attention he needed. The video is being used as evidence against the jail in a settlement negotiation with Mercado’s family.

The officers have a duty to protect the individuals in jail, regardless of their crimes. The negligence of the corrections officers and the nurse caused Carlos Mercado to die. Granted, he committed a crime but he did not deserve the treatment he was given. Going to jail or even prison is supposed to be a system of retribution. The jailed inmates are believed to be in a method of rehabilitation that recognizes their illegal action, gives them time to recoup and organize their future and then eventually let out. It sounds like a process that could work but when correction officers and the state do not aid in this progression, they make the system look worthless.  Sadly, inmate death rates in the United States are the highest in the world, and Florida is at the top as the state with 346 deaths in 2014 alone. Those deaths have people looking for answers, just at the Mercado family did. 


If you believe that a loved one’s death is due to the ignorance and intolerable acts of a local jail or correctional facility, contact the wrongful death lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Your loved one has already been given a sentence to correct the wrongs in their life, don’t let the system take that for granted. Call (727) 451-6900 today. 

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765