Suicide in Prison Is Not an "Individual Choice"
- posted: Oct. 16, 2019
- Prisoners' Rights
(orig. release date Jan. 30, 2019)
Surviving family members are often mislead to believe their relative's suicide was a private decision or was an individual choice. But thinking of suicide while in custody as an '"individual choice" means forgetting that many such incidents result from the negligent conduct of guards or other corrections officials. All you have to do is open a newspaper to read about jails and prisons being overcrowded and understaffed. But what does that mean, and why should you care? After all, it is jail — not a vacation, right? Overcrowding and understaffing are not facts of life – both are preventable and either has the potential to cause serious injury to your family members. The overcrowding and understaffing in jails and prisons mean these facilities are ill-equipped to meet basic standards of care for inmates in crises, including those with serious medical and mental health needs. Many people are unaware that the conditions in which inmates are kept in jails and prisons fail to meet basic national standards and international human rights standards. Too often, when serious injury or the death of an inmate occurs while in custody, victims and their families are left wondering where to turn for answers. Often, family members of inmates are too embarrassed to admit that a relative was in prison — many suffer from shame and feel that they are being judged. Many family members, including those who are incarcerated, tell us that they were made to feel that, if they did not want to be injured or killed, they should never have gone to jail or prison "in the first place." The fact that inmates have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison "in the first place" does not mean that they should be seriously injured, killed, or left in conditions which encourage them to take their own lives. At Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC, we understand the unique characteristics of medical malpractice by prison doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and other correctional medical care providers — including cases where professionals have deliberately ignored inmates known to be suicidal or otherwise suffering from a mental health crisis. Many family members whose relatives have died or who have been abused in prison tell us that they are ashamed; they feel judged or ignored by correctional personnel; and they are left feeling as though no one could have prevented their relative from taking his or her own life while in custody. Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC works with the nation's leading medical and corrections experts to address the needs of clients who have personally suffered from medical neglect while in custody or who may have lost a relative housed in a correctional facility. Few people are aware that they may be entitled to compensation when a relative has suffered from an unnecessary injury or a preventable death while incarcerated. We are not here to judge — we are here to listen. If you believe that you or a family member has been abused or has suffered neglect while in a jail or prison facility, please contact our experienced Charleston, West Virginia, team of lawyers online or call 1-888-240-0144 to talk about your case. There is absolutely no cost or obligation to do so. Again, we are here to listen — not to judge.