A 32-year-old Bronx woman who spent more than two years in solitary confinement at Rikers Island is suing the city for $10 million in a lawsuit that claims she was sexually and physically abused by guards during her stay.
Candie Hailey was placed in solitary confinement while awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder of an infant in 2012. She was later cleared. In the exclusive New York Daily News report, Hailey says the abuse led her to attempt suicide “more than 100 times,” describing the ways in which she would try to end her life with objects like broken light bulbs and plastic cups.
Scars that pockmark Hailey’s forearms are a daily reminder of the abuse she said she endured.
“I just wanted to die. I didn’t think about anything else,” Hailey told the Daily News. “It was taking too long to prove my innocence.”
“The solitary room is really cold. It smells like death,” she said. “It smells like urine, feces, vomit, mildew, mold.”
In one 2015 incident detailed in the notice of claim (which is filed before the lawsuit), Hailey said a Rikers captain punched her in the head before placing a finger in her anus. In another, Hailey swallowed a bottle of the popular hair removal depilatory Nair to escape the abuse.
“Candie Hailey’s treatment by correction officers at Rikers Island was less than inhumane and invokes images of slavery,” said her attorney, Paul Prestia.
“Despite the fact that she was hospitalized in psychiatric wards at Elmhurst Hospital eight times over the course of her incarceration, she was continually put back into solitary confinement, and that’s criminal,” said Prestia, who added that Hailey “still struggles and suffers from suicidal thoughts and is struggling to assimilate into society.”
According to the News, Hailey spent 27 months in solitary confinement on a number of infractions “that included attacking a correction officer and breaking a security device.” A former cellmate told the News Hailey was “absolutely unstable.”
“I don’t blame them. She did crazy things. She was a danger,” said “Soccer Mom Madam” Anna Gristina, who was at the Rose M. Singer Center for nearly five months in 2012.
The Correction Department is looking into Hailey’s claims.
SOURCE: New York Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter