Although convicted and sentenced to a prison term, inmates are still entitled to protection under the U.S. Constitution and state and federal laws. Among those civil rights protections is the right to be free from assault and battery, and entitlement to access to proper mental health support. When these needs are not met, prisons see avoidable and tragic cases of prisoner suicide.
Regardless of whether they are operated by the state or federal government or a private corporation, correctional facilities have a duty to ensure the safety of their inmates. When a jail or prison willfully or negligently breaches that duty, it must be held accountable for the resulting physical injury, emotional harm, or death of the inmate. That’s where the Lamothe Law Firm steps in.
An Unconstitutional Lack of Care
No one deserves to be abandoned when they are struggling. This includes inmates, whose symptoms often go ignored by prison staff.
While prisons are intended to house inmates away from the outside world, those facilities must still afford inmates certain constitutional rights, especially the freedom from excessive force or unreasonable harm. Recent studies reveal that prisoners have higher rates of physical and mental injury than the general public, yet the quality of health care they are given is often far worse, including limited access to medical examinations and prescription medicine.
Inmate Suicides & Suicide Attempts
Mental illness contributes to prison suicides, which have risen sharply over the last five years. Just like hospitals and mental health facilities, jails and prisons have a duty to provide care and protection for suicidal inmates – a very real and common problem. Recent statistics show that suicide is the leading cause of inmate deaths in U.S. correctional facilities.
Prisons have a responsibility to identify individuals who demonstrate suicidal ideation, signs and symptoms that include depression, anxiety, suicidal threats, alcohol or drug abuse, self-harm, expression of shame or guilt, a sense of hopelessness and despair, and other behavioral indications. When these warning signals are present, prison staff should implement suicide watch protocols, including proper monitoring, restraints, and emergency intervention as necessary.
If the failure to do so results in an inmate’s injury or death, the jail or prison may be held liable for its negligence or willful disregard for the inmate’s health.
Available Damages in Prisoner Suicide Cases
When an inmate commits suicide while incarcerated, their loved ones are entitled to follow a wrongful death case. The compensation available in these cases often includes:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost future wages
- Compensation for funeral costs
By holding the institution financially accountable, they are forced to admit the catastrophic flaws in their system. While the compensation can never replace who was lost, it can help the family of the inmate to begin the recovery process.
Why Hire Us
We have over 100 years of combined experience.
We have recovered over 100 million dollars for our clients.
We have a national reputation for excellence.
Contact a Lawyer With Experience Handling Prisoner Suicide and Excessive Force Claims
All suicide cases are emotionally complicated and can be challenging to seek justice for. If you have lost a loved one during their time in prison, you can hold the institution accountable for their lack of mental health care. Contact Lamothe Law Firm to discuss your options.
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