Family of Jonathan Fano says he would be alive today, had he gotten the mental health care he desperately needed.
Prison Suicides & Deaths

Family Files Lawsuit for Jonathan Fano, Who Hung Himself in a Baton Rouge Prison

On Feb. 12, an inmate committed suicide inside his cell in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Now, his family is suing the parish and city in a lawsuit for Jonathan Fano.

Louisiana family is suing the parish and city in a lawsuit for Jonathan Fano, who committed suicide in a Baton Rouge prison.
Louisiana family is suing the parish and city in a lawsuit for Jonathan Fano, who committed suicide in a Baton Rouge prison. Image Source: Town News

Reasons for Lawsuit for Jonathan Fano

  • Prison staff failed to provide Jonathan with the mental health treatment
  • The inmate was subjected him to unconducive living conditions

The prison officials, allegedly knew that the cell where Jonathan was placed posed suicide risks.

On Sep. 21s, Maria Olga Zavala, Jonathan’s mother, lawsuit for Jonathan Fano in the U.S. District Court in Louisiana.

The complaint claims the officials were deliberately unconcerned about the serious mental health and medical needs of all inmates.

How The Prison Condition Facilitated Jonathan Fano’s Prison Suicide

Jonathan Fano died three days after hanging himself. The lawsuit, claims that Jonathan was placed in a cell characterized as:

  • Filthy
  • Decrepit
  • Inhumane
  • Had unsafe physical conditions with potential suicide hazards

The family said that although Jonathan had a mental illness, he consistently took medication. Jonathan was arrested October 31 by the Baton Rouge police.

Mugshot: The suicidal inmate was arrested under the name Louis Jonathan Fano.
Mugshot: The suicidal inmate was arrested under the name Louis Jonathan Fano. Image Source: The Advocate

Reports say when he was arrested, he was naked. Police arrested him for ripping the mail slot off of an apartment. He also reportedly got into a scuffle with the cops.

They cited him with six misdemeanors:

  • Obscenity
  • Criminal trespass
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Resisting arrest
  • Battering an officer
  • Simple criminal damaging of property

Jonathan was later taken to East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. He was housed there the for next 94 days. Of them, Jonathan Fano spent 92 days in solitary confinement.

Why Jonathan Fano’s Arrest Was a Mistake at First Place

Police arrested Jonathan Fano when he was running around the street, hollering and at imaginary people. He told officers that he and Titianna (his imaginary friend) was a cross-dresser searching for a show so that they can make money.

Family of Jonathan Fano says he would be alive today, had he gotten the mental health care he desperately needed.
Family of Jonathan Fano says he would be alive today, had he gotten the mental health care he desperately needed. Image Source: Town News

Jonathan Fano’s sister, Dolores Zadikian, said that her brother was smart, gentle and kind, despite battling mental illness. Had Jonathan been taken to hospital for treatment and not to prison for torture, Zadikian says, he would be alive.

Will Claiborne, Jonathan’s family’s attorney said that prison officials didn’t give Jonathan sufficient medication. That is of course after learning that Jonathan had mental illness and repeated requests for his treatment.

For instance, Claiborne cited Jonathan’s last moments on Earth. The medical staff, reportedly, concluded that Jonathan was faking his mental condition thus withdrew the medication.

Read about the Prison Suicide Epidemic

The complaint reports that the Jail personnel also stated that Jonathan was heard inside his cell crying frequently. Immediately after entering the prison, Jonathan Fano attempted to commit suicide by cutting his wrists.

Many arrangements were made for Jonathan to visit mental health care experts. But most of these appointments weren’t kept, the suit claims.

The Lonely Death of the Suicidal Inmate

Jonathan died alone, scared, and surrounded by fellows who did not care for him, said his younger sister Vanessa.

Since Baton Rouge’s criminal justice system never took care of Jonathan, Vanessa says, it must account for that. The lawsuit adds that deaths of prisoners are rampant in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison since it lacks a unit for mental health.

Last year’s audit findings recommended significant raise in the budget for mental health, dental and medical care inside the facility. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. But it hopes that it will initiate critical reforms in the facility.

Venessa said that the suit would help to ensure that Jonathan is given justice.

Prison Suicides have become an epidemic, and more and more suicides are being blamed on the treatment and lack of care for mentally unstable prisoners!

Daniel Peterson is a young professional with diverse experience in content writing and content management. He has a strong blog writing background, and runs his own e-commerce partnership business. Daniel currently writes news articles for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.

Daniel Peterson

Daniel Peterson is a young professional with diverse experience in content writing and content management. He has a strong blog writing background, and runs his own e-commerce partnership business. Daniel currently writes news articles for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.