Trans woman Layleen Polanco’s family has agreed to a record settlement for her death while she was in solitary confinement at Rikers Island.
CCTV Video showed Rikers Island Guards laughing and joking outside of Polanco’s cell for nearly an hour before entering to check on her. According to policy Layleen Polanco should not have been put in punitive segregation (PSEG) (also known as solitary confinement) because of her medical condition.
The City reports that her case ultimately spurred Mayor de Blasio to call for an end to solitary in city jails.
Polanco was 27 when she died from an epileptic seizure on June 7, 2019, after spending nine days in solitary confinement at Rikers’ Rose M. Singer Center, where she was being held on $500 bail.
The de Blasio administration also said it would discipline 17 uniformed jail staffers.
An investigation into Polanco’s death released in June by the city’s Board of Correction, which exercises independent oversight over local jails, noted that the Department of Correction’s policy not to house trans women with cisgender women in the general population of the women’s facility helped push her into solitary confinement.