I am writing today to speak about the tragedies of human life at the .
In the past two years there have been seven deaths, including five suicides and one beating death. This is a county facility where inmates are housed for mostly minor offenses such as with drug addiction charges, prostitution, charges brought by mental illness, etc…and other who have not even been brought yet before a judge and still awaiting trial. Many of these inmates are community members who work and live in the community and pay taxes.
I am a nurse practitioner who used to work in the Nassau County jail. I saw and cared for many of the inmates, and when I resigned my position there I formed the Nassau Inmate Advocacy Group (NIAG). I also now have a private practice in East Meadow.
NIAG is now working in collaboration with the NYCLU, and other advocacy groups such as Prison Families Anonymous and NAACP to help bring forth a jail oversight committee which is already part of our county charter. The seven members of this committee would be volunteers who live in Nassau County and who have some working knowledge of the jail.
We (advocates) feel that persons should not be abused, should be treated humanely and should be afforded the healthcare that everyone deserves. Actually, the healthcare guidelines are the same for the incarcerated as they are for the general public, however, this is not seen within the walls of the correctional facility.
We presented ourselves on Feb, 23 to the Hempstead Democratic Club where we spoke about the jail and the problems found. We asked the community to support us in our endeavor to put forth the oversight committee which again, is already written into the Nassau County Charter. We also stated that we do have support from some of the legislators as Judy Jacobs and Dave Denenberg have written letters to Ed Mangano in support of this. However, it is the decision of the County Executive with the recommendations of the legislators that members be appointed to the board.
I feel that we are all accountable for the treatment of the inmates at the Nassau County jail, as we are not only our brother’s keeper, but we are fiscally accountable to the monies that go into the jail for care and daily expenses. As healthcare providers, we are responsible to see that everyone is afforded proper care, lest they (inmates) otherwise fall into the sickest of the population which finds their care in the hospital emergency rooms anyway; and as elected officials those persons have a responsibility to the community which includes the jail.
Pat Dellatto, NP, Director,
Nassau Inmate Advocacy Group