The family of a New York City prisoner who died in an overheated jail cell will receive $2.5 million to settle a wrongful-death suit, the city comptroller’s office announced Friday.
“A mother lost a son, the City lost a citizen. It is my hope that this settlement provides some small measure of closure for the family of Mr. Murdough,” said city comptroller Scott M. Stringer in a statement, referring to the deceased inmate.
The Rikers Island prison complex, where Jerome Murdough was found dead this past February in a cell where the temperature exceeded 100 degrees, has been the subject of frequent criticism for the poor treatment of prisoners in recent months. In this particular case, jail officials had received reports of high temperatures but had not fixed acted to solve the problem.
At the time of his death, the 56-year-old prisoner was awaiting trial for trespassing. Murdough, who is said to have suffered from mental illness, was arrested a week prior to his death as he sought shelter from the cold in a public housing building.
“This is a very awful thing I’m going through, and I hope that no one else will have to ever go through anything like this,” said the inmate’s mother Alma Murdough, at a Friday press conference.