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Family Awarded $7M in Prison Suicide Lawsuit

This is a settlement for the Negligence lawsuit.

Santa Cruz, CA: A $7 million settlement has been awarded to the family of a mentally ill woman who killed herself while incarcerated in a privately-owned prison in Delaware County. The first responder negligence lawsuit was made by the mother of the deceased.

According to claims made by Janene Wallace’s mother, her daughter, aged 35, was allegedly mistreated by staff, denied psychiatric treatment and encouraged to kill herself by a guard at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Community Education Centers Inc.

Wallace, who suffered from anxiety, depression and paranoia, committed suicide by hanging herself from a ventilation grate with her bra during a 52-day period in solitary confinement. Court documents indicate that she had been imprisoned for violating probation for a conviction of making terroristic threats against another woman over the phone.

Her mother alleged in the lawsuit that her daughter was denied daily medical checks and essentials such as blankets, sheets and towels. Her mother also claimed in court papers that a guard told her to “go ahead and choke herself” after she threatened to commit suicide.

The defendants claimed that “Ms. Wallace refused any medical or mental health treatment while at the prison, which appears consistent with her behavior outside of prison where plaintiff has testified that her daughter refused treatment, and specifically, mental health treatment, in the years before her incarceration.”

Nevertheless, the plaintiffs were awarded damages and the owner of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility will implement policy reforms in its facilities targeted at preventing future suicides.

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Published on Nov-13-17


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