A Correction Officer who ignored the cries of a dying inmate was convicted of violating that inmate's civil rights in federal court today. According to the Times, former Correction Captain Terrence Pendergrass "slammed the table with his fist, and members of his family burst into tears" when the verdict was read.

The inmate, Jason Echevarria, had swallowed a toxic soap ball in his cell in August of 2012. When Echevarria, who suffered from bipolar disorder, pleaded for medical attention as the ammonium chloride corroded his tongue and throat, Pendergrass's subordinate testified that he was told by his superior, “Don’t bother me unless someone is dead."

Pendergrass faces up to 10 years in prison. His conviction comes on the same day that Mayor de Blasio visited Rikers Island for the first time since taking office to formally announce an end to the practice of placing teenagers in solitary confinement.

"I stood on my bed, with a sheet looped around my neck into a noose," one teenager who spent time in punitive segregation testified. "They [the officers] told me to jump. They told me to jump three times."

"There are a lot of people who should not even be here, because their fundamental issue is a mental health problem," de Blasio told reporters after his tour of the facilities today, noting that 40% of inmates on Rikers suffer from some form of mental illness; those inmates are more likely to be the victims of severe beatings at the hands of the Correction officers, a reality which de Blasio and his Correction Commissioner, Joseph Ponte, have pledged to change.

The Correction officers' union is led by Norman Seabrook, who has acted as a "roadblock to reform" thanks to the immense power he wields with those in government and the city's establishment (the mayor has referred to him as "a friend"). Asked how Correction officers would react to the changes, the mayor replied that "change takes time."