Woman who spent over 2 years in Rikers solitary confinement is suing NYC for $10M

NYC Officials Secretly Looking into Locations for New Riker's Island Prison

After spending 29-months in the Rikers Island Correctional Facility — and all but two of those months in solitary confinement — for a crime she did not commit, Candie Hailey is suing New York City for $10 million, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

Hailey alleges that, throughout most of the time she spent behind bars waiting to be tried for the 2012 stabbing of an infant, prison officers frequently abused her. She was ultimately acquitted of the charge in May 2015, but — she says — nearly didn't make it.

"I just wanted to die," Hailey told the Daily News. "I didn't think about anything else. It was taking too long to prove my innocence."

Woman Who Spent Over 2 Years in Rikers Solitary Confinement Is Suing NYC for $10 Million
Candie Hailey, the woman who spent a total of 27 months in solitary confinement during her 29-month Rikers stint.
Source: Bebeto Matthews/AP

According to the Daily News, Hailey said she attempted suicide "more than 100 times" as a result of the sexual and physical assault. And indeed, solitary confinement is thought to induce suicidal impulses in prisoners, wreaking havoc on their mental well-being.

See images of Rikers Island:

17 PHOTOS
Inside Rikers Island
See Gallery
Woman who spent over 2 years in Rikers solitary confinement is suing NYC for $10M
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 13: Aerial view of Rikers Island. (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A corrections officers walks through the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit at the Rikers Island Correctional facility in New York March 12, 2015. New York City is proposing to reduce violence among inmates at its troubled Rikers Island jail by limiting visitors, adding security cameras and separating rival gangs, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS)
A view from a jail cell in the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit at the Rikers Island Correctional facility in New York March 12, 2015. New York City is proposing to reduce violence among inmates at its troubled Rikers Island jail by limiting visitors, adding security cameras and separating rival gangs, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS)
A view from the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit at the Rikers Island Correctional facility in New York March 12, 2015. New York City is proposing to reduce violence among inmates at its troubled Rikers Island jail by limiting visitors, adding security cameras and separating rival gangs, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS)
QUEENS, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 25: A view of Rikers Island, New York City's jail, is seen from a flight leaving LaGuardia Airport on Christmas morning, December 25, 2016. Most New Yorkers are denied access to the island, but frequently see it when leaving or arriving on flights from adjacent LaGuardia Airport in Queens. (Photo by ANdrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Russell Hernandez, who got $1 million in a settlement, hold letter from Bronx DA thanking him for 'cooperation.' Hernandez, was held at Rikers Island for more than two years without ever being charged with a crime in order to force him to testify against two gang members who had robbed him. (Photo By: Howard Simmons/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Russell Hernandez, who got $1 million in a settlement, hold letter from Bronx DA thanking him for 'cooperation.' Hernandez, was held at Rikers Island for more than two years without ever being charged with a crime in order to force him to testify against two gang members who had robbed him. (Photo By: Howard Simmons/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex where IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held in New York on May 17, 2011. The grand jury deciding whether or not to send IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to trial has until May 20th to decide. In the meantime, Strauss-Kahn, accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid, remains incarcerated without bail because a judge deemed him liable to attempt escape to France, which does not extradite citizens to the United States. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 24: Inmates at Rikers Island gather in a circle for a morning meeting on pride and self-esteem. Inmates, who refer to each other as 'teammates,' are in the High Impact Incarceration Program (HIIP)., (Photo by Susan Watts/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex where IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held in New York on May 17, 2011. The grand jury deciding whether or not to send IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to trial has until May 20th to decide. In the meantime, Strauss-Kahn, accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid, remains incarcerated without bail because a judge deemed him liable to attempt escape to France, which does not extradite citizens to the United States. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 30: Aerial view of Rikers Island prison. (Photo by Charles Payne/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
An air view of Rikers Island, New York City's main jail complex and the name of the 413.17-acre island on which it sits, in the East River between Queens and the mainland Bronx in New York City, New York, 1955. (Photo by Flying Camera/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 22: Frank Costello (c.) is freed from Rikers Island and with him are his attorneys on his left Morris Shilensky, and his right is Edward Williams. (Photo by Seymour Wally/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 22: Frank Costello flanked by police detective is freed from Rikers Island. (Photo by Seymour Wally/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 25: Prisoners sit handcuffed on ground along hallway after riots at Rikers Island. (Photo by Leonard Jackson/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 04: Rikers Island detainees drill in the courtyard of new 'Sprungs' area where 16 to 18-year-old detainees live and attend school while awaiting trials and sentencing. (Photo by Nicole Bengiveno/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

According to a PBS Frontline report, a battery of psychological disorders are attached to solitary confinement, including hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia and loss of behavioral control, all of which make it difficult for prisoners to readjust to life among other people.

Woman Who Spent Over 2 Years in Rikers Solitary Confinement Is Suing NYC for $10 Million
A solitary confinement cell at Rikers.
Source: Bebeto Matthews/AP

As the Daily News reported, Hailey was continually sectioned in solitary, despite the fact that she was sent to the Elmhurst Hospital psychiatric ward on eight occasions.

"The solitary room is really cold. It smells like death," she told the News. "It smells like urine, feces, vomit, mildew, mold." According to her attorney, Paul Prestia, Hailey hasn't been able to shake the lingering trauma from more than two cumulative years spent there. The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, said it "take[s] these allegations seriously" and is investigating.

More than 80,000 inmates are kept in solitary confinement throughout the United States. Because of the lasting toll it takes on prisoners, President Barack Obama has called on state correction centers to reduce punishment by isolation and banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.