Ross Frye’s death on September 19 inside the Allegheny County Jail, marked the 5th among the inmates who committed suicide there, in an 18-month span. The 62-years-old hanged himself.
Just as all prisons do, following Frye’s death, the jail evaluated its policies and even disciplined some staffs. What those in charge of these facilities fail to understand is that this issue needs smoothing more.
Inmate suicides have become a national epidemic. Talking of epidemic, something horrible recently happened. Tyler R. Mraz, 23, took his own life in the Lake County Jail, Florida on Oct. 2.
How System Has Unknowingly Facilitated Inmate Suicides.
On the same day, relatives of Gregory Michaux Jr, sued Washington County management. The lawsuit claims that the official failed to take necessary action to prevent Michaux’s death.
Michaux, 38, hanged himself inside the county jail in 2015, using a bed sheet. He had been locked up for almost 6-months.
The lawsuit claims that during his time in jail, Michaux made 104-pages of what he referred to as, “death notes.” In the notes, Michaux openly outlined his suicidal behavior and thoughts.
Below are some of the warning remarks that Michaux wrote and which are cited in the suit:
- Goodbye cruel world.
- Why do I always keep failing at ending my life? It cannot be that difficult to die!
- Please, God, forgive me for being coward and just let me enter.
Four days following his 80-years to the prison sentence, Michael McNurlin, 53, also committed suicide inside the Jackson County Jail. McNurlin had pleaded guilty of child sexual abuse.
Here is the shocking statistics about the rate of inmate suicides.
Starting from 2000 to 2013, Suicide has topped the list of causes of deaths in local jails.
Between the year 2012 and 2013, America witnessed a 9% increase in jail suicide rates.
Those affected were overwhelming:
- Young (25 to 44-years-old)
- Burdened by alcohol and drug addictions
- Had some illnesses.
What Should Be Done To Prevent Inmate Suicide Cases?
To solve this issue, it’s important to acknowledge that there are many factors leading to these suicides.
For instance, the newly incarcerated inmates may take their lives because of, the shock of confinement.
Such fellows see their world as having come to an end, especially drug addicts and those with mental issues. They, therefore, feel like their lengthy prison sentences are too much for them to bear.
Professionals have outlined that suicides tend to happen:
- At 3 p.m-9 p.m.
- In proximity to the visits from their relatives or telephone
- Among those inmates who are not on suicide surveillances.
Most of those affected, including Michaux, were just in jail awaiting for their judgment. So to save these type of fellows, jails should be made to appear as wait stations and not as final stations.
Jail officials have been desperate to find a solution to this problem. They have even thought of, officers, starting to carry tools to cut the rope-like paraphernalia which many inmates use to commit suicide
While this among other more approaches, may at times save a life, a better prevention option is to be wiser and more human, than the current situation.