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Book cover: Studies in Law, Politics, and Society

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society

ISSN: 1059-4337
Series editor(s): Professor Austin Sarat

Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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8. GRAVEN IMAGES: “THE HART ISLAND PROJECT”


Document Information:
Title:8. GRAVEN IMAGES: “THE HART ISLAND PROJECT”
Author(s):Rebecca Scott Bray
Volume:34 Editor(s): Andrew Kenyon and Peter Rush ISBN: 978-0-76231-151-4 eISBN: 978-1-84950-304-4
Citation:Rebecca Scott Bray (2004), 8. GRAVEN IMAGES: “THE HART ISLAND PROJECT”, in Andrew Kenyon and Peter Rush (ed.) Aesthetics of Law and Culture: Texts, Images, Screens (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Volume 34), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.179-200
DOI:10.1016/S1059-4337(04)34008-1 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Extract:

Prisoners bus from Riker’s Island and board a ferry at City Island, accompanying the mortuary van, which contains bodies of the homeless, the poor, the unclaimed and unidentified dead. If relatives are unable to afford burial costs, the State will also ferry the body to the island for interment in a mass grave. The Health and Hospitals Corporation mortuary van collects bodies from the Office of the Medical Examiner (with morgues located in four of the five boroughs of New York); the city hospitals also forward bodies to the Office of the Medical Examiner (OME). Bodies that remain unclaimed and unidentified at the OME for approximately two weeks are transferred to the island for burial, unless the police and Missing Persons Squad requests otherwise. Here, the removal of a body to Hart Island signals forensic inconclusion. Without the necessary cumulative components that might establish the personal history of individual life and the circumstances of death, such as identity – from which (hopefully) spring relationships, family, troubles – there is little evidence to enliven a medico-legal narrative with enough force for successful forensic pursuit and conclusion.


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