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City Agrees To $380K Settlement For Family Of Rikers Inmate Who Killed Himself

Rikers Island.
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Rikers Island. Spencer Platt/Getty

The city will pay $380,000 in taxpayer money to the family of a Rikers Island prisoner who killed himself after jail staffers took him off of suicide watch, according to the terms of a settlement.

Viewed by the Daily News, the agreement is set to conclude the case by the kin of Aris Hiraldo, who hanged himself in his cell in 2011. His suicide came 10 days after a social worker ended his suicide watch status, even though, as records showed, he continued to show signs that he was a threat to himself.

Hiraldo, then 24, was arrested in late 2010 for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. After an evaluation, he was sent a month later to a mental health unit and placed on suicide watch. Six days after that, following an interview with the social worker, he was returned to his regular cell, but according to the News he remained unstable.

He reportedly killed himself hours after a fighting with his girlfriend over whether she was visiting that day.

"The City is committed to inmate health and safety," a Law Department spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "A resolution of this unfortunate case was best for all parties."

The Correction Department declined to comment directly on Hiraldo's case, but a spokeswoman noted that the agency has stopped using the troubled healthcare contractor Corizon, and that suicide prevention is the subject of regular training for guards, as well as an ongoing study.

Nearly 40 percent of the inmates at Rikers have a diagnosed mental health issue.

Hiraldo's stay at Rikers coincided with that of Kalief Browder, the Bronx teenager who spent three years on Rikers, more than two of them in solitary confinement, while awaiting trial in a robbery case that Bronx prosecutors ultimately threw out. Browder tried to kill himself five times while in jail. He hanged himself in 2015 at age 22, two years after his release. His case galvanized support for ending the use of solitary confinement on teenagers.

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