Wall Street bankers can crash the economy. A tax-dodging self-avowed sexual predator can win the presidency. And a mother can be sent to jail for falling behind on child support and then die in jail.
This is the country we live in.
Back in 2013, a 37-year-old woman was sentenced to 30 days in Macomb County Jail, Michigan, for falling behind on child support. But the tragedy didn’t end there.
Jennifer Meyers died in prison just 12 days later.
Her death, however, is back in the spotlight due to an investigation by Local 4 Defenders.
According to the investigation, inmates claimed that Meyers' constant pleas for help were ignored by prison guards.
Meyers was reportedly suffering from sepsis which gradually worsened during her stint in prison.
The Defenders obtained exclusive video statements from two women who were inside the jail and information from the people who found Meyers' body.
"We've got to check her pulse, and she went like this, she is ice cold," one witness said.
The distressing video shows Meyers' body being brought out on a stretcher in a body bag.
"She wasn't responding to me, and the minute I touched her she felt like she was in a meat freezer," a witness said.
Apparently this is not the first instance of an inmate dying while incarcerated at Macomb County Jail.
In 2014, David Stojcevski of Roseville was also serving a 30-day sentence for failure to pay $772 in fines associated with a traffic ticket.
The 32-year-old was rushed to Mount Clemens Hospital as he was having trouble breathing but died at the hospital.
His family filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Stojcevski was denied prescribed doses of methadone, Xanax, Klonopin and oxycodone, which he needed to combat acute drug withdrawal.
The most notable example of such an incident is the case of Sandra Bland.
Bland, 28, was pulled over by a Texas state trooper for allegedly failing to signal when she changed lanes. The incident was filmed by a police dash-cam.
She was arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer and didn’t have enough money for the $500 bail bondsman’s fee, and so she was held in jail.
In less than three days she was dead. The coroner attributed her death to suicide.
Deaths inside American jails regularly go unnoticed. Unlike prisons, jails hold people for an average of 21 days. Many of their inmates have not been convicted of a crime.
According to the Huffington Post, there have 811 fatalities in American jails since Bland’s death in July 2015. That’s an average of more than two per day.
These cases are just anecdotal examples of a larger problem that our correctional facilities face all over the country.
The causes of these deaths can differ from case to case but, according to the Washington Post, suicide is the leading cause of death for inmates in local jails accounting for nearly a third of all deaths.
It’s clear that personnel at local jails need additional training, constant observation for people on suicide watch and a better screening process in order to tackle the issue.
Until and unless these deaths are not taken seriously, more people with continue to die.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters