Suicides rise among Georgia inmates; Is solitary confinement to blame?
By Rhonda Cook – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Ben Gray/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
April 27, 2016 Jackson: The Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson is where the execution chamber is located. (credit: Ben Gray / firstname.lastname@example.org / April 2016 file photo)
Posted: 5:13 p.m. Friday, December 08, 2017
The number of Georgia inmates killing themselves has increased this year, surpassing the national average and leading some to question whether the rise is linked to the state’s increased use of solitary confinement in its prison system.
Thirteen state prisoners killed themselves through Nov. 9; one was on Death Row and two were being held in strict isolation, according to documents compiled by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. An additional prisoner being held in an isolation unit was found hanging in his cell, but since he died in the hospital days later — and not in the prison itself — corrections officials did not include his death in the total they provided to The AJC.
In 2016, by comparison, nine inmates committed suicide for the entire year.
In just one month – October – there were four suicides — Donnie Hulett on Death Row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison on Oct. 1, Milton Jones at Valdosta State Prison on Oct. 3 and Demitri Carter at Phillips State Prison and James Wheeler at Wilcox State Prison both on Oct. 29.
Mental Health Troubles
“There’s something going on,” said Lindsay Hayes of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives who is an expert in preventing suicides at jails, prisons and juvenile facilities.
Experts said many prisons are struggling to deal with stubborn mental health problems among their inmates, coupled with staff shortages.
“At a lot of prisons… they are decreasing the population of lower-level offenders,” Hayes said. “What remains are inmates serving longer terms. Many of those folks have greater mental health issues, which is one of the risk factors for suicide.”
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h/t BertG. Bonus: Same As It Ever Was.pic.twitter.com/ONjoRbpjsi — Martin Bosma (@Martinbosma_pvv) December 3, 2017
via Trump Sings All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey —
Prison guards take to Facebook to mock Florida inmate who died while being gassed
By Julie K. Brown And Caitlin Ostroff jbrown@MiamiHerald.com
UPDATED December 05, 2017 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article188085574.html
A group of Florida correctional officers excoriated a dead inmate on social media, saying that the 27-year-old prisoner — who suffered from a genetic blood disorder and died after being gassed by officers — deserved what he got.
The officers, writing on a private Facebook page for Florida corrections officers that has 6,000 members, called the inmate a “bitch,” an “a–hole,” and other expletives in a lengthy thread that followed the posting of a story published in the Miami Herald last Wednesday.
The Miami Herald could reach only two of those whose names were attached to the comments. One, who said he recently left the Florida Department of Corrections, acknowledged his post.
The Herald story detailed an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit, brought last year on behalf of the late inmate’s now-13-year-old daughter.
Randall Jordan-Aparo, who was serving a short stretch for credit card fraud, suffered from a rare disease, one that was noted in his medical file. After he asked for medical attention and it was denied, he became agitated, and was placed in confinement, where he pleaded urgently to be taken to the hospital. The officers sprayed him with chemicals to subdue him, then left him unattended, state records show. He was found dead on the floor, dusted in orange chemical residue.
“I guess if he wasn’t acting like an ass, he probably wouldn’t have been gassed in the first place,” said one post. The apparent author is in the Florida Department of Corrections employee database. The Herald is not identifying him and others who could not be reached for comment.
“Who the f— cares!!! Cost of incarceration = $32,000…money WELL saved!!!” said another person, described in his Facebook bio as working at the University of New Hampshire. A university spokeswoman said no one by that name has ever worked there. The name does appear on the FDC employee database, but it is a relatively common name and the Herald could not reach him.
“Hey, it’s good for a laugh,” said another commenter, listed as a corrections sergeant in the database. . . .