After Inmate Suicides in New York and Ohio, Calls for Probes into Local Jails
After a Nassau County inmate with a history of mental illness committed suicide last week — the county’s fourth inmate suicide in 12 months — a state legislator and inmate advocates are calling for a federal investigation:
“Given the fact that the feds have had involvement in the facility, it makes sense for them to take a look at what is or is not going on that might be helpful,” said Assemb. Jeffrion Aubry (D-East Elmhurst), chairman of the Assembly’s committee on correction.
The U.S. Justice Department had closely monitored the jail both for overcrowding and, more recently, after finding gross civil rights violations stemming from the 1999 beating death of an inmate and problems with [Nassau University Medical Center]’s inmate medical care.
The DOJ’s earlier monitoring efforts in Nassau County were concluded in 2005.
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Ohio is seeking information about procedures at the Summit County Jail after an apparent inmate suicide:
[Michael Carl] O’Neill, 51, was taken off life support Tuesday, about two days after he jumped from a second-story ledge from a visitation area inside the jail. The Akron man was being held over the weekend on public-drunkeness-related charges and was assigned to a cot in the open area.
On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote Alexander expressing concern of potential overcrowding issues. The group is seeking the department’s policies on inmate housing and any mental health evaluation given to O’Neill.
”Housing inmates in a large common area typically used for other purposes raises red flags over potential safety flaws and indicates that the jail may be dangerously overcrowded,” ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman said Friday.