SUICIDES IN MICHIGAN’S CHILD CARING INSTITUTIONS, JAILS AND PRISONS

Tragically, too many suicides occur in Michigan’s youth homes, juvenile detention centers, jails and prisons. Suicide rates are much higher among incarcerated individuals than their community counter parts. 

Although the causes of suicide are complex, incarcerated individuals are especially susceptible hopelessness, extreme stress, guilt, or feelings that they are a burden to their family.  Suicides that occurred in the Macomb County Jail, for example, accounted for 20 percent of all prisoner deaths reported in Michigan in 2011.   In fact, suicide made up roughly 5.5 percent of deaths in state and federal prisons in 2011, which was more than drug and alcohol intoxication, homicide, and accidents combined.  The problem seems to be growing, too: in 2014 the largest number of inmate deaths were reported since tracking began in 2001.  In 2017, three suicides have already been reported in Macomb County jail.

Michigan’s youth care workers, Sheriff’s deputies, and correctional officers have a duty and obligation to recognize the signs and symptoms that could lead an individual to harm himself.  However, the institutions in which these officials are employed often fail to provide sufficient suicide prevention training.  When a person expresses that he or she is going to commit suicide, perhaps even verbally threatening to do so, and the threats are ignored, the government or private agency responsible for protecting your loved one may be held accountable.  

 We have extensive experience prosecuting civil rights claims and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of families of children whose threats of self-harm were tragically ignored.   If you think your son or daughter should have been protected in a Michigan Child Caring Institution or county jail, we are available to explain your rights and obtain justice on your behalf.