Our Michigan jail rights lawyers represent the families of prisoners and inmates that have died while in a jail or prison.
Many jail detainees and prisoners are at a high risk of suicide due to existing mental health conditions or severe depression that occurs as the direct result of being incarcerated.
The governmental unit responsible for the management of the jail or prison can be held legally accountable for the suicide death of an incarcerated person.
Jail and Prison Death Statistics
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of inmate suicides is on a disturbing upward trend. The statistics show that:
- Local jail inmate deaths increased to 967 deaths in 2013.
- Suicides in local jails increased 9%, from to 2102in 2013.
- Suicides in state prisons went up 30% from 2013 to 2014.
There are often specific warnings or warning signs that should cause correctional facilities to take the required action to prevent a suicide death of an inmate. Many people who are jailed for the first time have a “shock of confinement” and experience fears and depression greater than someone who has previously been through the jail system. Jails often also have fewer resources to identify and treat inmates with suicide risks. H2:
Common Reasons for Jail & Prison Suicides
Jail and prison suicide deaths occur for a number of reasons, but the most common include:
- Failure to protect, identify and treat mentally ill prisoners.
- Understaffed and untrained prison and jail personnel.
- Failure to monitor inmates at high risk for suicide.
- Physical assaults while imprisoned by other inmates.
- Sexual assault while in custody by other inmates.
- Taunting and intimidation by other prisoners
- Medication errors or refusal to provide necessary medications.
- Failure or refusal to get psychiatric exams performed on high-risk inmates.
- Failure to consult with an inmate treating doctors or family members.
Lawsuits for Jail & Prison Suicide Deaths
Lawsuits can be filed against a governmental entity for the suicide death of a prisoner or inmate. Many correctional facilities are owned or managed by private companies under contract with the government and those companies can also be sued for the death of a prisoner in their facility.
The legal basis for these lawsuits is violations of both federal and state constitutional rights. Specifically, lawsuits allege a violation of the Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The cases seek a civil judgment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Lawsuits allege that the government deprived the rights of the prisoner either maliciously or by acting with reckless disregard for whether an inmate’s rights were violated by prison officials. This reckless indifference to the health and safety of the prisoner resulted in the death of the inmate.
Other allegations regarding civil rights violations are included in the lawsuits on behalf of the prisoner.
Bringing a Jail or Prison Suicide Death Lawsuit
The surviving family members or an inmate who commits suicide in prison or jail may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit (link to WD PA page) against the government and prison officials.
Typically, a family member will be appointed by the probate court to be the representative of the estate and to assist the civil attorney in the handling of the case. Other family members still have input in deciding whether to settle the case and how much each family member receives from the settlement.
Prison Suicide Lawsuit Compensation Amounts
Inmate suicide lawsuits seek compensation for the family members for the loss of the loved one. Compensation and damages in these cases can include:
- The loss of society and companionship of the loved one.
- The pain and suffering prior to the death.
- The loss of financial support, earnings, and economic benefits.
- The loss of parenting and other household services.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
In some situations, there can be punitive and other significant damages awarded by the jury or judge deciding the award. Many cases also receive an award of attorney’s fees for the lawsuit.
Examples of Jail & Prison Death Lawsuit Compensation
Every case is completely different and the determination of a settlement or jury verdict depends on the facts of a specific case.
Listed below are some examples of some inmate death settlements:
- $5,750,000 settlement for the death of a mentally ill inmate.
- $5,000,000 settlement for the death of a jail detainee.
- $4,000,000 settlement for the death of an inmate with mental health problems.
- $2,300,000 settlement for the drug overdose death of a jail detainee.
- $1,600,000 settlement for the suicide death of a jail inmate not properly supervised.
- $1,000,000 settlement for a jail suicide wrongful death lawsuit.
Best Prison and Jail Wrongful Death Lawyers
Our prisoner wrongful death lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the laws regarding prison and jail death lawsuits. Our attorneys have won the top awards in the legal profession, including:
- U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms
- "Best Personal Injury Attorney" by American Lawyer Academy
- Named Top 100 Trial Lawyers
- Honored as "Super Lawyers"
- Top Martindale-Hubbell Rating (AV) for Skill & Integrity
- Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
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