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NCJ Number: 182724 Find in a Library
Title: Jail Suicide Under Legal Scrutiny: An Analysis of Litigation and Its Implications to Policy
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:March 1997  Pages:75-97
Author(s): Michael Welch Ph.D.; Danielle Gunther
Date Published: March 1997
Page Count: 23
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined jail-suicide litigation by analyzing a sample of 77 relevant lawsuits.
Abstract: The study focused on the problems within the purview of institutional policy and custom that were the most often cited in litigation: insufficient staff, inadequate training and supervision, deficient jail conditions, a lack of written rules and procedures for screening and monitoring potentially suicidal detainees, and overcrowding. The Civil Rights Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. Section 1983) created "a civil cause of action against any person acting under the color of law who deprived another of Constitutionally guaranteed rights" (Embert 1986). Due to a number of landmark decisions, civil rights action under this law has become a fundamental tool of litigation against correctional facilities, especially in jail-suicide lawsuits. An analysis of the case sample found that inadequate training and supervision was the most often cited problem (52 percent of the cases). Lack of policies for screening and monitoring were alleged in 22 percent of the cases, and deficient jail conditions were cited in 21 percent of the cases. Insufficient staff was alleged in 5 percent of the cases. Overcrowding was not specifically cited in any of the cases. This research shows how studying jail-suicide litigation can illuminate crucial problems that plague jails. 3 tables, a 19-item bibliography, and a list of cases examined
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Inmate suicide; Jail management; Jail standards; Jails; Judicial decisions; Legal liability; US Supreme Court decisions
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