In what some human rights advocates have called an “epidemic,” there are more suicides in San Diego County jails than any other jail system in California. In fact, a federal judge has refused to dismiss claims that the county did not take the appropriate steps to prevent a suicidal inmate from taking his own life.
California has the highest rate of prison suicides in nation. Since 2014, there have been 17 prison suicides in San Diego County, including seven in 2016 (as of December 1). This is in contrast to other highly populated areas in the state, such as Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Bernardino counties — all of which have reported just one suicide each this year.
According to the plaintiff’s attorney in a recent case, many of the suicides are similar in nature, as family warnings and various other warning signs go unnoticed or ignored. The attorney claims there is no adequate policy in place in state jails to appropriately evaluate inmates who have mental health conditions. Because of these failures, inmates with mental illnesses often end up in substandard housing and care, where they do not get the medical attention they need.
Wrongful death may include suicide cases
These prison suicides are a collective example of situations in which an individual could be held liable for a suicide. Prisons are expected to provide a certain level of care to inmates, especially those with medical or mental health conditions. A failure to do so could constitute negligence and liability if an inmate were to pass away due to substandard care.
If you believe the death of a loved one was the result of someone else’s actions or negligence, speak with a dedicated San Diego County wrongful death attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.