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$1.5 Million Settlement in CA Jail Suicide Attempt

On June 6, 1996, a California man was arrested on charges of drunk driving after being involved in a traffic accident. He was unable to make bail and was confined in the Los Angeles county jail to await trial. While in the jail he became depressed, incoherent and refused to take any psychiatric medication or cooperate with jail medical staff.

When he was placed in the jail's general population, jail staff teased and ridiculed him and told him that due to his mental state he would never leave the jail or see his family again.

In a depressed state, the prisoner tried to kill himself by jumping from a jail bunk three times. On the third attempt he landed on his head and neck, severing his spinal cord which left him permanently disabled.

He filed suit in federal court claiming that jail officials violated his constitutional rights by failing to diagnose and treat his mental illness. The jail settled the case by agreeing to pay him $1.5 million. The name of the plaintiff, case name and case number are confidential and were not reported.

Source: Washington Journal

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