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Rikers Makes Changes After Vet 'Baked to Death'

Warden Rose Argo will be placed in charge of a facility that doesn't house mentally ill
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2014 10:15 AM CDT
Rikers Makes Changes After Vet 'Baked to Death'
In this March 16, 2011, file photo, a security fence surrounds the inmate housing on New York's Rikers Island correctional facility.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

(Newser) – Rikers Island is taking action over the headline-generating death of Jerome Murdough, the mentally ill homeless veteran who "basically baked to death" in a Rikers cell in February. New York City's Correction Department has removed the warden in charge of Rikers' mental health unit, saying it had found "systemic management problems" there as well as "overall issues" with the heating system in the jail. The warden, Rose Agro, will be reassigned to a jail that doesn't house mentally ill inmates, the New York Times reports.

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"There is no indication that Warden Agro was directly involved or negligent," the department said, but her staff "did not follow basic procedure." The correction officer who was on duty will have 10 days added to his 20-day suspension without pay, the maximum allowed under city law, and the mechanics supervisor at the unit will be banned from further work on inmate housing. Bronx prosecutors are looking at the case, the AP reports. But Murdough's sister says she isn't satisfied with the punishments. "I believe some people should be fired and not just demoted or suspended," she said. (Read more Jerome Murdough stories.)

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