PROTOCOL BREACH

Inmate Dies After Suicide Watch Ignored

According to two city officials, the mentally ill Riker’s Island inmate who hanged himself on New Year’s Day was supposed to be on suicide watch—but it was never implemented. A jail psychiatrist had ordered that Fabian Cruz, 35, be transferred to a special observation unit in a different facility, but a guard transferred Cruz back to his cell after the inmate told him he didn’t want to go. Letting Cruz go was a violation of Department of Correction protocol; inmates don’t get to decide where they’re housed. The guard also did not notify a supervising captain about the psychiatrist’s suicide watch order.