Studies are showing an unfortunate increase in jail suicides that have been linked to the ongoing opioid crisis in America and neglect from staff who are paid from our tax dollars.
According to The Crime Report, the leading cause of death in American jails is suicide and it hit a record high of 50 deaths for every 100,000 inmates in 2014, the latest year for which the data was made available. The studies equate the rise in suicides to the increase of mentally ill people who are sent to jail instead of psychiatric hospitals after the country began closing them down in the 1970s.
In more recent times, jails have reportedly been overwhelmed with opioid or meth addicts who are battling with depression and withdrawal. The circumstances have led to more attention to the treatment of these said inmates who often suffer from possible patterns of neglect from staff who could help prevent the suicides.
A closer look has been taken into the lawsuits and investigations filed against jails within the past five years for refusing inmates medication, ignoring cries for help, failing to monitor them despite knowing they might harm themselves, or imposing extremely harsh conditions that result in them getting sicker, TCR reports.
Reporters found more than 400 lawsuits over alleged mistreatment of inmates, most of whom were mentally ill. Their findings show that about a third of jail inmates who attempted suicide or took their lives did so after seeking help from neglectful staff members who allegedly ignored their need for mental health medicines and treatment.
“I’ve been doing this for 37 years, and I don’t ever remember the number of people with mental health issues being as dramatic, or significant, as large as it is right now,” Captain Rob Bellamy, head of corrections in Nebraska’s Washington County told the Fremont Tribune last year.
A 2006 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 64 percent of inmates in local jails across the country had some sort of mental health problem. This appears to be an ongoing issue that affects many American citizens and taxpayer dollars.
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