Nassau wants jail suicide probe sped up

A jail cell is seen inside Nassau County

A jail cell is seen inside Nassau County Correctional Facility. (Credit: Film image)

Nassau County officials have asked the state officials who examine every death at correctional institutions to speed up the investigations of three of the past four suicides by Nassau County Jail inmates.

Acting Nassau County Sheriff Michael Sposato, after being asked by County Executive Edward Mangano, wrote to the state Commission of Correction requesting a quicker probe into the two suicides that occurred at the jail in October and the one that occurred at Nassau University Medical Center on Jan. 3.

The inmate who officials said committed suicide at the hospital last week was brought to the medical unit for prisoners after he had slit his wrists while at the jail a day after Christmas. He hanged himself in the medical unit a few days later, Nassau homicide detectives said.

The other two men hanged themselves at the jail.

Each death triggered a routine investigation by NUMC, the jail and the Commission of Correction, which oversees all correctional facilities and may make recommendations after examining a death.

But the time it normally takes for the commission to finish - about 13 months - prevents officials from implementing procedures that could prevent future deaths, said officials and advocates.

"I am writing to request that, to the best of your ability, you expedite the commission's investigations into the three remaining suicides," Sposato wrote in a Jan. 10 letter to Commissioner Thomas A. Beilein, adding that he believes the investigations take a long time mainly because of cuts in staffing and resources at the state agency.

Commission spokesman John Caher said the agency would "make every effort to accommodate that request."

He added: "We are working with the sheriff and Nassau County to ensure that critical documents - such as autopsy and toxicology reports - are provided to the commission as soon as possible."

Sposato asked for investigations into the last three to be expedited because the commission has completed its probe of the first of the four, which occurred in January of last year.

The results of that probe were not yet available, Caher said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Follow Newsday on social media

advertisement | advertise on newsday