By Matt . . . A New York man who was a patient in the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center was found dead with injuries around his neck on the night of September 20. The 28-year-old man had been convicted in 2019 after being accused of a sex crime. He had finished his incarceration and was on supervised release. It is unclear if he was in treatment because of his conviction, though the facility is known to provide treatment for persons with sexual crime convictions. New York City police announced Friday, three days after the death, that they are treating the death as a homicide and that the neck injuries are consistent with strangulation.
The Kingsboro Psychiatric Center is no stranger to death, violence, and suspicious occurrences. In 2009, a report that was commissioned by the center found that “Violence has become a way of life at KPC.” Shortly after that finding, it was reported in 2011 by the Daily News that Kingsboro had failed the four consecutive annual surveys provided by the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services. With all these problems mounting, Kingsboro lost federal Medicaid funding in cuts amounting to over 22.5 million dollars. A federal lawsuit in 2010 filed by the Mental Hygiene Legal Services found that, among other acts of violence, patients had experienced stabbings, paperwork and medication mix-ups, and threats from other patients.
In 2012, the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center was slated to be closed permanently. After backlash from the community and politicians who claimed that the closing of the facility would release dangerous criminals onto the streets of Brooklyn, the authorities chose to keep the facility open. In 2021, former Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the grounds of the facility would undergo a 400-million-dollar redevelopment.
This facility, while unlike some of the more notorious civil commitment centers in that it accepts actual patients in need, is, nonetheless, also a forced civil commitment center used to extend the incarceration time for those with sexual crime convictions beyond their court-ordered sentences. This is done, not on the basis of new crimes or even new accusations, but based solely on what the detainees MIGHT do at some future time.
New York City Police are investigating Devega’s death as a homicide. The New York State Office of Mental Health stated that they were cooperating with law enforcement and provided no further comment to the media.
The murder of persons with former sexual crime convictions is part of a larger pattern of vigilantism that plagues citizens who have served their incarceration time but remain on a public registry. Even after release, they are placed on public registries that reflect their names, addresses, and information concerning their crimes. Anyone with internet access can search or browse these registries.
Matt is a writer and former educator. He was an intelligence analyst and wrote many reports published in Presidential Daily Briefs and executive-level DoD publications. He served in the Army, where he deployed twice. Most recently, he became part of the approximately 5% in this country who take their criminal accusations to trial. He was found not guilty after 3-years of pretrial incarceration for an alleged sex crime. Today, Matt writes and advocates for inmates and criminal justice reform.