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Two Suicides at Privately-operated Pennsylvania Facility

Officials in Delaware County, Pennsylvania have been tight-lipped about the recent suicides of two prisoners at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, fearing wrongful death lawsuits.

On May 26, 2015, Janene Wallace, 35, hung herself using her bra while serving time for a probation violation. Just weeks later, 46-year-old Richard Dandrea committed suicide by hanging himself with the rope from a laundry bag. Both prisoners had histories of mental illness.

Philadelphia-based attorney David Inscho said on July 17, 2015 that he had been retained by both families to review and investigate the cases for potential legal action. “A serious investigation is warranted to determine whether or not those [suicide prevention] guidelines in place are adequate and the training of their personnel is adequate,” he said.

The George W. Hill Correctional Facility is operated by Community Education Centers (CEC), a private company that took over operation of the prison after the sudden departure of the previous contractor, The GEO Group, in 2008. Following the suicides, CEC issued a statement saying that it took the matter “very seriously” and that “appropriate actions” were taken after an investigation.

Records from the Delaware County medical examiner’s office indicate that at least six suicides have occurred at the facility since 2009. According to Inscho, CEC’s insurance company declined to provide him with copies of surveillance video and failed to respond to other document requests.



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