Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails, which often cannot provide the mental health care inmates need. But, every jail can ensure officers meet minimum safety standards. These articles show the severity of the problem and consequences of noncompliance.
Mar. 9, 2021. The family of a 38-year-old inmate, who committed suicide last year, has filed a lawsuit against Hidalgo County and its correction center staff alleging they failed to provide the necessary care. Las Cruces Sun News, Hidalgo County, Texas.
Mar. 9, 2021. A watchdog in Los Angeles County voiced concern to leaders over rising numbers of inmate deaths, saying they are troubling trends for the Sheriff’s Department and demanding increased transparency. Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles, CA.
Mar. 5, 2021. Three inmates, all under age 30, died during February after attempting suicide at the Rockingham County Detention Facility; the first suicide attempts in more than a decade at this facility. Rockingham Now, Rockingham County, NC.
Mar. 4, 2021. The mother of a man who died by suicide at the jail in 2020 filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Hennepin County, saying they ignored warning signs that her son was mentally ill and failed to properly monitor him. Kare11, Hennepin County, MN.
Mar. 2, 2021. The husband woman who died by suicide while an inmate at the Hancock County Jail in 2018 is suing the county, saying jail staff didn’t provide her with adequate mental health services. 13 WGME, Hancock County, ME.
Feb. 25, 2021. The family of a 67-year-old psychologist is threatening to sue Whitman County for his suicide while an inmate at the Whitman County Jail. Whitman County Gazette, Whitman County, WA.
Feb. 24, 2021. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating after an inmate died at the Chatham County Jail. WTOC 11, Chatham County, GA.
Feb. 22, 2021. Northern Lakes to pay $135,000 in court-approved settlement to the mother of an inmate who died by suicide while in jail following the cancellation of his suicide watch. Record-Eagle, Grand Traverse County, MI.
Feb. 21, 2021. Lackawanna County recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against the county prison by the mother of a man who hanged himself in his cell for $170,000. The Times-Tribune, Lackawanna County, PA.
Feb. 20, 2021. An investigation is being conducted into the circumstances surrounding the death by suicide of a 30-year-old inmate in the Santa Barbara County Jail. Noozhawk, Santa Barbara County, CA.
Feb. 20, 2021. A 42-year-old inmate at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility died following an apparent suicide attempt. Bethesda Magazine, Montgomery County, MD.
Feb. 17, 2021. A wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estate of an inmate that committed suicide has been allowed to move forward; the tribunal said there is enough evidence to raise questions of liability concerning the quality of psychiatric services provided. WXTK, Barnstable County, MA.
Feb. 16, 2021. Multiple officials are investigating Peoria County Jail concerning the death by suicide of a 59-year-old inmate. Herald&Review, Peoria County, IL.
Feb. 15, 2021. According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, in the last five years, there have been 33 suicides in Minnesota Jails, accounting for over half of jail deaths. Fox 9 KMSP, MN.
Feb. 12, 2021. The family of a 29-year-old inmate who died by suicide, despite being a known mental health risk and having arrived at the jail from a psychiatric hospital, is still looking for answers. Mlive, Kalamazoo County, MI.
Feb. 11, 2021. Despite some Oregon jails cutting their populations in half on average because of the pandemic, more people died in local correctional institutions last year, according to a report by Disability Rights Oregon. The Bulletin, OR.
Feb. 10, 2021. Federal monitors released a report on the New Orleans jail that has highlighted inadequate suicide prevention as an area of backsliding. Nola.com, Orleans Parish, LA.
Feb. 10, 2021. The Racine County Sheriff’s Office is launching an investigation into the suicide of a twenty-five-year-old inmate. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Racine County, WI.
Feb. 10, 2021. In North Carolina, a state that is already grappling with a large number of inmate suicides, a twenty-five-year-old female inmate died after attempting suicide. Rockingham Now, Rockingham County, NC.
Feb. 9, 2021. Oklahoma’s jail mortality rate ranks second in the nation, with suicides accounting for a quarter of inmate deaths; officials cite a need for expanded technology. Oklahoma Watch, OK.
Feb. 8, 2021. The number of inmates dying in Oregon jails has increased over previous years, even as jail populations have fallen, with suicide being the leading cause of death. OPB, OR.
Feb. 8, 2021. Officials are investigating the Louisville Metro Police Department after three inmates attempted suicide, all within twenty minutes of each other. Wave3 News, Jefferson County, KY.
Feb. 6, 2021. Corrections officers helped save an inmate’s life following a reported suicide attempt at the Chautauqua County Jail, where the sheriff cites the intervention’s success on the proper protocols being followed. The Post Journal, Chautauqua County, NY.
Feb. 5, 2021. A 40-year old committed suicide while being held without bail on a probation violation and outstanding warrants. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gwinnett, GA.
Feb. 5, 2021. Following the suicide of an inmate in 2019, his family has filed a federal lawsuit that alleges the jail employees should have been aware that the inmate was planning to commit suicide and that he was denied adequate mental health care. Kicker 102.5, Red River County, TX.
Feb. 4, 2021. Minnesota has sanctioned its largest county jail, where ten inmates have died in custody since 2015 after newly uncovered records revealed that wellness checks were being skipped and records falsified. Kare11, Hennepin County, MN.
Feb. 4, 2021. A 22-year old inmate, with multiple known mental health diagnoses, committed suicide, the fourth inmate death at the Oklahoma County Jail in 2021. The Oklahoman, Oklahoma County, OK.
Feb. 4, 2021. Following an inmate’s suicide, her family has filed a lawsuit against the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office alleging that she received substandard care. Alexandria Town Talk, Rapides Parish, LA.
Feb. 3, 2021. Between 2009 to 2019, in Colorado, 64 inmates died by suicide, citing ongoing issues with Sheriff’s deputies completing required inmate checks as one cause. Colorado Springs Indy, El Paso County, CO.
Feb. 3, 2021. An inmate committed suicide after guards failed to properly complete the required safety checks; the lawsuit brought by the inmate’s family has resulted in a $2.3 million settlement from Sherburne County and MEnD Correctional Care. Kare11, Sherburne County, MN.
Feb. 2, 2021. The estate of a 31-year old inmate who committed suicide has filed a lawsuit against the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department alleging failure provide him with appropriate psychiatric treatment and counseling, and/or place him on suicide watch. The Bulletin, Deschutes County, OR.
Jan. 28, 2021. A 31-year old inmate committed suicide in his cell three days into solitary confinement, as required by COVID-19 protocols. News Channel 21, Deschutes County, OR.
Jan. 28, 2021. Investigation launched into the suicide death of a 28-year old inmate. The Daily News, Genesee County, NY.
Jan. 26, 2021. Three days after he was booked, an inmate hung himself with a bedsheet in an isolation cell after a nurse had placed him there and failed to tell the watch commander and other staff members. The Virginian-Pilot, Portsmouth, VA.
Jan. 19, 2021. A second inmate committed suicide this month, spurring the Russell County Sheriff’s Department to launch an investigation into the jail’s practices. WRBL, Russell County, AL
Jan. 20, 2021. The family of a 41-year old man who committed suicide while in jail is suing to hold the facility responsible for ignoring what it claims were numerous red flags that should have placed the man on suicide watch. The Advocate, East Baton Rouge Parish, LA.
Jan. 21, 2021. The federal government has found after an investigation that a rash of suicides at the Cumberland County Jail is likely to have violated the U.S. Constitution, because officials failed to prevent self-harm to inmates or didn’t provide them with adequate mental health and opioid misuse treatment, specifically citing lax supervision of inmates. South Jersey Times, Cumberland County, NJ.
Jan. 16, 2021. Inmate suicides at Charlotte County Jail far exceeded other regional jails despite its smaller size, questions remain unanswered about suicide risk screenings. The Arcadian, Charlotte County, FL.
Jan. 15, 2021. The Justice Department put Cumberland County on notice of possible legal action if fails to immediately address problems that contributed to six inmate deaths at its jail, including the provision of sufficient screening to identify inmates at risk of self-harm or in need of mental health care. Vineland Daily Journal, Cumberland County, NJ.
Jan. 14, 2021. A Bexar County deputy at the jail was doing their rounds when they walked in on an inmate trying to commit suicide. They immediately stepped in and saved the inmate’s life. News4SA, Bexar County, TX
Jan. 14, 2021. The family of a Yellowstone County man who died by suicide in jail in 2015, after two previous suicide attempts while in custody, has settled its claim for $156,000. Billings Gazette, Yellowstone County, MT.
Jan. 10, 2021. Mother of a 23-year-old male inmate at Nebraska’s Douglas County Jail questions why her son was given a mask with long strings (that he used to hang himself while in custody). The incident is under investigation. Kearney Hub, Kearney, NE.
Jan. 8, 2021. A male inmate recently booked into Alabama’s Russell County Jail dies of suicide while being held in isolation for 14-days as a part of the facility’s Covid-19 protocol. The incident is being investigated. WRBL.com, Russell County, AL.
Jan. 7, 2021. A 33-year-old male inmate in Utah’s Davis County Jail committed suicide on Wednesday night. He was in a housing area where officers conducted 30-minute checks. The incident is under investigation. Standard Examiner, Farmington, UT.
Jan. 7, 2021. A former corrections officer at the El Paso County Jail in Colorado was stripped of his POST certification for making untruthful statements during official duties because the officer had logged checks that were never actually performed. The decertification will prevent the individual from ever working as a peace officer in Colorado again. Colorado Springs Indy, Colorado Springs, CO.
Jan. 5, 2021. Fremont County Colorado agrees to pay $2M settlement to female inmate whose federal jury had awarded over $3M. The woman was strapped naked in a restraint chair for 4 hours following an arrest in her home where she was getting ready to take a bath. Westword, Denver, CO.
Jan. 2, 2021. Sullivan County Tennessee settles lawsuit for $175,000 brought by former male inmate who had alleged he was assaulted by a former corrections officer while in the jail. Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol, VA.
Dec. 30, 2020. Family of man who committed suicide in the Spokane County Jail has filed a $5.25M lawsuit against the county and health care provider, alleging he was not properly monitored, among other things. Krem2News, Spokane, WA.
Dec. 28, 2020. 57-year old male inmate’s suicide by hanging is the third such death in the Charlotte County, Florida jail in two months. Multiple lawsuits have been filed. Sun Port Charlotte, Port Charlotte, FL.
Dec. 28, 2020. 36-year old male inmate’s suicide at South Carolina’s Chester County Jail under investigation. Herald Online, Chester, SC.
Dec. 22, 2020. Inmate’s suicide in Virginia Beach Correctional Center under investigation. It was the facilities second suicide in 2020. 13NewsNow, Virginia Beach, VA.
Dec. 22, 2020. 27 lawsuits have been filed against Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and all arise from a string of deaths beginning in the summer of 2018. Four of the cases have settled for a total of $1.35M. Cleveland.com, Cleveland, OH.
Dec. 22, 2020. Federal Judge allows $1M wrongful death lawsuit arising from inmate suicide to go to jury against Cumberland County, New Jersey, finding in part that jail management was aware of a persistent problem involving officers who failed to make their rounds and then falsified logs to conceal their inaction. Courier Post, Cherry Hill, NJ.
Dec. 22, 2020. 46-year old male inmate in the Volusia County Branch Jail committed suicide by hanging one day after being booked. Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, FL.
Dec. 21, 2020. Federal lawsuit filed against St. Francois County, Missouri Jail alleges inmates subjected to unsanitary conditions, denied proper food and medical care, and are forced to fight during “Friday Night Fights.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO.
Dec. 21, 2020. Bucks County, Pennsylvania inmate committed suicide by hanging, and the incident will be investigated. Courier Times, Levittown, PA.
Dec. 21, 2020. Family of man who committed suicide in the Cuyahoga County, OH Jail files lawsuit two years after the fact, alleging numerous failures in following protocol. The County paid a $950,000 settlement last month to settle another case arising from a different suicide. Cleveland.com, Cleveland, OH.
Dec. 18, 2020. Male inmate in Deschutes County Oregon Jail commits suicide because he could not make bail after being granted conditional release on DUI charges. The Bulletin, Bend, OR.
Dec. 18, 2020. Delaware County, Pennsylvania hires consultant to assist in transitioning from private operator back to county control over the 1,800 jail. Daily Times, Concord, PA.
Dec. 17, 2020. Hampton Roads Regional Jail is moving hundreds of inmates back to local city jails because they do not have enough staff to monitor inmates. The Virginian-Pilot, Portsmouth, VA.
Dec. 17, 2020. Several lawmakers in West Virginia are pushing for reforms after a Reuters Report concluded that the state’s in-custody death rate was the worst in the nation, and 50% above the national average. KFGO.com, Fargo, ND.
Dec. 17, 2020. Two inmates died in one week in the Marion County, Indiana Jail, one was beaten to death and one was stabbed. Both were inmate on inmate assaults. Indy Star, Indianapolis, IN.
Dec. 16, 2020. Special report based on survey of more than 500 jails shows that deaths of female inmates from drugs, alcohol, overdoses, and withdrawals have climbed substantially since 2008. Thompson Reuters, Fargo, ND.
Dec. 15, 2020. Investigation of inmate’s suicide at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas concludes there were multiple policies and procedures violations. NBCDFW, San Antonio, TX.
Dec. 14, 2020. 34-year-old male inmate’s suicide at the Monroe County Jail in the Florida Keys is under investigation by state authorities. Miami Herald, Miami, FL.
Dec. 12, 2020. Protesters clashed with police in riot gear outside the Bergen County, New Jersey Jail. Protesters have been demonstrating for weeks in solidarity with ICE Detainees conducting a hunger strike. Northjersey.com, Hackensak, NJ.
Dec. 12, 2020. California Judge orders Orange County Jail to reduce it’s population by half due to Covid-19. Yahoo News.
Dec. 11, 2020. Recently arrested male inmate dies of suicide at the Marion County Jail. The death is under investigation from multiple agencies. The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, IN.
Dec. 11, 2020. The mother of an inmate who committed suicide at the Montgomery County, Texas jail has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the County, alleging they failed to properly monitor her daughter. Clarksville Now, Clarksville, TN.
Dec. 10, 2020. Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating the suicide of a 38-year-old woman in the Marion County Jail who strangled herself with her shoelaces before the booking process was completed. Marion County Record, Marion KS.
Dec. 9, 2020. Mother of 24-year-old inmate who died one day after being booked into the Madison County Jail accuses jail of beating her son to death. Nine inmates have died in the jail since January of 2019. AL.com, Huntsville, AL.
Dec. 9, 2020. Harris County Texas, one of the biggest jails in the country, failed their annual inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards because they failed to comply with important regulations requiring physical checks of every inmate once an hour, and at least every 30 minutes for compromised inmates. Houston Press, Houston, TX.
Dec. 9, 2020. 22-year old inmate in Benzie County Michigan jail transported for medical treatment after officers discovered him hanging in his cell. The Ticker, Traverse City, MI.
Dec. 8, 2020. Federal judge orders the City of New Orleans to build a new jail facility for inmates with health issues, as an ongoing part of court-ordered reforms. WBRZ 2, New Orleans, LA.
Dec. 8, 2020. Inmate in East Baton Rouge Parish Jail died in custody after experiencing mental health issues. The death sparked a rally in downtown Baton Rouge by a group seeking jail reform. The death was the parish’s 44th in-custody death since 2012. The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA.
Dec. 1, 2020. Two deputies in St. Clair County Michigan receive awards for saving an inmate who was attempting suicide. Times Herald, Port Huron, MI.
Nov. 29, 2020. Georgia investigative reporter’s report on inmate deaths in the Cobb County jail leads local District Attorney to request that a federal investigation be conducted by the Department of Justice. 11 Alive News, Atlanta, GA.
Nov. 28, 2020. Female inmate at Bexar County, Texas dies in hospital after suicide attempt in jail, where deputy discovered her hanging during cell check. KSAT.com, San Antonio, TX.
Nov. 22, 2020. Citrus County Florida will open a mental health campus run by its mental health provider near the jail to help better serve inmates with mental health issues. Citrus Chronicle, Crystal River, FL.
Nov. 19, 2020. Cook County Illinois approves $14 million settlement to class of female assistant public defenders who alleged that Sheriff and Public Defender’s Office failed to protect them from sexual harassment from inmates. Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL.
Nov. 17, 2020. Judge dismissed federal lawsuit in Colorado against jail medical providers, ruling among other things that there was no proof that medical providers actions caused inmate’s suicide by hanging. Montrose Press, Montrose County, CO.
Nov. 16, 2020. 40-year-old inmate commits suicide by hanging (clothing) at Yakima County Jail. YaktriNews, Yakima, WA.
Nov. 15, 2020. Hundreds of inmates file class action lawsuit in federal court against Shelby County, Tennessee, alleging a failure to protect vulnerable inmates from Covid-19. Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN.
Nov. 11, 2020. An officer in Portage County, Wisconsin discovered an inmate attempting suicide by hanging in time to revive the inmate. WAOW.com, Stevens Point, WI.
Nov. 9, 2020. Inmate in Charlotte County, Florida commits suicide by hanging just after shift change. WINK, Port Charlotte, FL.
Nov. 9, 2020. Deputies in Dane County Wisconsin were injured while intervening in an inmate’s suicide attempt. The facility as tracked suicide attempts since 2013, and reports an increase in attempts starting in 2019. Channel3000, Madison, WI.
Nov. 6, 2020. Kossuth County Iowa inmate’s death ruled suicide by strangulation. KIMT3, Algona, IA.
Nov. 4, 2020. Inmate commits suicide by hanging in Oklahoma County Jail. Although he had been jailed 4 times in the last 18 months, he had never been placed on suicide watch. The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK.
Nov. 4, 2020. Federal Judge in Colorado allows claim against deputy to proceed to jury trial in part because the deputy had failed to conduct required welfare checks on elderly inmate who died of sepsis. Claims against the county and sheriff were dismissed. Colorado Politics, Denver, CO.
Nov. 3, 2020. Island County, Washington Jail earns distinction and praise for its effort to better screen and protect inmates with mental health issues. Whidbey News-Times, Oak Harbor, WA.
Nov. 3, 2020. Inmate in Starr County, TX commits suicide by hanging within 3 hours of booking. Texas Jail Commission had reported the facility “non-compliant” in September after the death an inmate in wrap restraints because “Face-to-face observations were not conducted within 15 minutes as required.” The Monitor, McAllen, TX.
Nov. 2, 2020. After failed escape attempt, inmate in Allen County, Indiana committed suicide while waiting for an observation cell. Fort Wayne’s NBC, Fort Wayne, IN.
Oct. 29, 2020. Alameda County, CA pays $5M settlement to family of inmate who committed suicide in 2019 after being shackled and chained to a door instead of placed in a restraint chair. The Independent, Dublin, CA.
Oct. 29, 2020. Minnesota news station investigative report finds that taxpayers have paid out more than $10M in 10 years to settle lawsuits arising from jail deaths. Station reports that 15 out of 56 (27%) inmate deaths resulted in federal lawsuits, with several more expected to be filed seeking millions. Kare 11, Long Prairie, MN.
Oct. 29, 2020. North Dakota jail doctor goes to trial in federal lawsuit alleging deliberate indifference to medical needs of Morton County inmate who committed suicide in 2013. The county and a nurse already settled for a combined $500,000. Grand Forks Herald, Mandan, ND.
Oct. 28,2020. Federal inmate housed at Wake County Jail (NC) commits suicide by hanging. Sheriff expressed disagreement with state mandate requiring distribution of sheets to inmates, and vows to work with officials to find alternatives in order to prevent future suicides. CBS17.com, Raleigh, NC.
Oct. 27, 2020. Medical provider for Macomb County Michigan Jail settles inmate suicide lawsuit for $100k. Suit continues against county and officers. Macomb Daily, Sterling Heights, MI.
Oct. 26,2020. Bexar County, Texas officers stop 3 attempted suicides in one day, which brought 2-month total to 20 suicide attempts. KSAT.com, San Antonio, TX.
Oct. 26, 2020. Thompson Reuters “Special Report” probes how outsourcing medical care affects number of in-custody deaths. 790 KFGO News, Fargo, ND.
Oct. 26, 2020. Female inmate in Shawnee County Kansas dies of suicide by hanging; the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating. KSNT.com, Topeka, KS.
Oct. 23, 2020. (Opinion) Mangino column: Local jails can be deadly. Provides statistics on inmate deaths in local jails. Monroe News, Monroe, MI.
Oct. 23, 2020. New Mexico family files federal lawsuit against county, alleging deputies failed to monitor inmate on suicide watch for 3 hours, while inmate committed suicide. KOB 4, Albuquerque, NM.KRQE Santa Fe, NM.
Oct. 21, 2020. St. Louis, MO inmate on life support after suicide attempt at City Jail. The city is already facing a lawsuit from an inmate’s detox-related death in December of 2019. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO.
Oct. 21,2020. Inmate commits suicide by hanging in Muscogee County, GA Jail. This was the county jail’s third suicide this year. Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, GA.
Oct. 19, 2020. After inmate two inmate suicides in two months, Delaware County, Ohio replaces 120 metal grates within the cells (both inmates had used them as fixed points for hanging). The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, OH.
Oct. 14, 2020. Ohio deputy prevents suicide during cell checks when he discovered hanging inmate. The incident was the second attempted suicide in the facility in 2020. Fremont News Messenger, Fremont, OH.
Oct. 13, 2020. Texas deputy prevents inmate’s suicide by hanging in progress while making rounds by cutting the inmate down. This was third attempted suicide in less than two months at this facility. News4SA, San Antonio, TX.
Oct. 12, 2020. Investigative report concludes that Minnesota jails fail to meet national standards in investigating in-custody deaths. Minnesota county jails had 56 deaths since 2015, with more than half being suicides. Kare 11 News, Elk River, MN.
Oct. 6, 2020. New Mexico deputy violated regulations by failing to make 30 minute checks on inmate on watch who committed suicide by hanging with a set of shackles. Deputy also submitted false report after the fact. Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, NM.
Oct. 4, 2020. Illinois inmate in critical condition after suicide by hanging attempt (he was discovered during routine cell checks). LCBC Radio, Rockford, Illinois
Sept. 30, 2020. Texas deputy arrested for falsifying cell check logs following inmate’s attempted suicide: KSAT News, San Antonio, TX .
Sept. 30, 2020. Indiana inmate commits suicide by hanging while on Covid-19 isolation protocol: NBC, Fort Wayne, IN.
Sept. 29, 2020. Utah inmate’s suicide prevented by deputies conducting routine 30-minute checks during Covid-19 protocol. Gephardt Daily, Farmington, UT.
Sept. 3, 2020. Witness in lawsuit against San Diego County, California testifies that Sgt. refused to place inmate on suicide watch in order to leave work early. The county settled separate case last year for $595,000. Voice of San Diego, San Diego, CA.
Aug. 4, 2020. North Carolina parents question whether 15 minute checks were made on daughter who committed suicide in Buncombe County Detention Center. Citizen Times, Asheville, NC.
Aug. 2, 2020. Lawsuit alleges Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office responsible for inmate suicide in part because of the failure “to conduct cell checks in a safe and consistent manner.” Bellingham Herald, Bellingham WA.
July 8, 2020. Oklahoma Deputies intervene and prevent inmate’s death during attempted suicide by hanging. Tulsa World, Tulsa OK.
July 1, 2020. California grand jury reports correctional officers committed serious errors in protocol that contributed to four inmate deaths in one county in 2019. Independent, Santa Barbara California.