From the Asbury Park Press comes this story of a 24 year old man arrested for burglary, suffering from delusions, who hangs himself with his shoelaces while awaiting trial. The parents have brought suit against Monmouth County, which runs the jail, for negligence in failing to keep a constant watch on an individual with known psychological problems that was suicidal:
While suffering from delusions, paranoia and methadone withdrawal, inmate Nicholas E. Organek — who was being checked on every 30 minutes at Monmouth County Jail in Freehold Township — used his shoelaces to hang himself from an exposed pipe in his cell two years ago.
Physicians should have kept him on constant watch status in the jail given his history of suicidal thoughts and previous suicide attempts, according to a federal lawsuit recently filed by his parents.
There are some who like to think that all lawsuits are about “the money” and get their kicks mocking the injured or bereaved. But, while I don’t know these claimants, I think I can safely say that even if they received all the money in Fort Knox, it would do nothing to heal the heartache. Many litigants feel that by holding people accountable for their actions it makes it less likely someone else will suffer the same fate.
Update 3/15/07 –: Just hours after writing about this New Jersey case, I see another one from yesterday’s Albany Times Union about a suicide in an Albany jail, and the mother’s suit against the jail for ignoring repeated warnings that the prisoner would injure or kill himself.