“A lot of people are dying, and they’ve never been sentenced, and that’s obviously a huge problem.” A Reuters investigation has documented thousands of in-custody death in jails, in most cases prior to trial and conviction. This should be a huge national scandal and a high-priority topic in the election, but it isn’t.
Here’s the Justice Dept. memo in which AG Jeff Sessions ordered Trump’s DOJ to stop seeking jail reform consent decrees: https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1109621/download
Watch the disturbing, graphic video… https://queso.prod.reuters.tv/rest/v2/queso/static/id/RCV8UH2/mp4
Rare scrutiny shows that deaths in custody are preventable, and that forcing local governments to act against jail deaths can save lives.
EXCERPT: In 2016, the Justice Department began investigating the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia, after state Attorney General Mark Herring and local civil rights groups called for a probe following several inmate deaths. Reuters found the jail, which serves five jurisdictions, averaged 3.5 deaths per thousand inmates over the years 2009 to 2019, more than double the national average of 1.5 deaths.
In December 2018, the Justice Department said the 900-bed jail violated inmates’ rights by failing to provide adequate medical and mental healthcare. The regional authority that manages the jail agreed to a “consent decree,” enforced by a federal judge, to ensure improved treatment of prisoners.
Inmate deaths dropped after the agreement, which required increased staffing, better training and enhanced medical services.