Suicides in Michigan’s Jails and Prisons

Too many suicides occur in Michigan’s jails, prisons, youth homes, and juvenile detention centers. While an individual may be sentenced to serve time in jail or prison, they are still entitled to protection under the U.S. Constitution, and federal and state civil rights laws.

Although the causes of suicide are complex, incarcerated individuals are especially susceptible to hopelessness and extreme stress and frequently denied adequate mental health and substance abuse treatment. As a result, suicide rates are significantly higher among incarcerated individuals than their community counterparts.1 In fact, suicide was the single leading cause of death for jail inmates in 2018, more than drug and alcohol intoxication, homicide, and accidents combined.2

No one deserves to be abandoned when they are struggling. This includes inmates, and correctional employees and youth care workers have a duty to recognize signs that could lead to self-harm. Whether a facility is run by a private corporation or the state government, institutions fail to provide sufficient suicide prevention training, and symptoms are often ignored by correctional staff. When a person expresses that he or she is suicidal and their cries for help are ignored, the government or private agency responsible for protecting your loved one may be held accountable.

Why Hire a Lawyer?

Correctional facilities are required to keep individuals safe who are under their care and custody. Although compensation can never replace the life of a loved one, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the institution accountable for the catastrophic failings of their system and begin the recovery process from the loss you experienced. Compensation in these cases often includes:

• Loss of society and companionship
• Conscious pain and suffering
• Funeral and burial expenses
• Loss of income and future support
• Punitive damages

Our attorneys have extensive experience prosecuting civil rights claims and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of families where an individual’s signs of self-harm were ignored. If your loved one should have been protected in a county jail, correctional facility, or youth home, we are here to explain your rights and obtain justice on your behalf.


1. http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/resource_jails_prisons.pdf
2. https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/mlj0018st.pdf

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