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Mac Mcleod
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Published on Sep 21, 2016

When you see the sheer number who die in jail within three days of their arrest, you might assume the police are murdering dozens of citizens in their cells with impunity every year. They probably are, but rest assured at least some of these deaths are due to simple negligence of medical needs. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below. http://tytnetwork.com/join

"The Huffington Post gathered names, causes of death, dates of arrest and death, and other data for more than 800 people who died in jails and police lockups in the year following Sandra Bland’s death on July 13, 2015.

Because it is so difficult to obtain details of fatalities that occur in jails, many of the deaths in this database have not previously been reported. A number of states collect some form of death data from all their jails. In others, the reporting process is far from comprehensive. Some, like Texas, collect information from counties but not from municipalities. Others, like Louisiana, only track deaths of inmates in state custody — a tiny fraction of the jail population. (Jails are short-term holding facilities in which many inmates have not been convicted; our study does not include deaths in prison.)

To supplement these figures, we scoured news reports and press releases, gathered official records, filed public records requests, and called hundreds of jails. When news reports omitted details like the date of arrest or official cause of death, reporters requested that information, either from the jail or the office of the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy. We particularly focused on jails with more than 500 inmates. The Bureau of Justice Statistics doesn’t collect data on deaths in facilities that hold people for less than 72 hours, such as police lockups, even though people are at significant risk of hurting themselves during that period. We included such institutions in our count.”*

Read more here: http://data.huffingtonpost.com/2016/jail-deaths



Source: The Huffington Post jail deaths database. We documented 816 deaths including Sandra Bland, but could not obtain the date of booking or arrest for 193 of them.

Deaths V Days in Jail ->


(see web page for the details on graph. apparently the legends were softcoded).
 
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Adam Alleman
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How quickly did Sandra Bland die?
 
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Daniel Edwards
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My wife does a lot of work on behalf of the prison service here in the UK.

Apparently a major issue early on is drug withdrawal so its not so much a matter of prisoners being denied food and water as relevant medical care.

Without getting into it, that does seem like an unacceptably high rate of deaths.
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Based upon my poor understanding of history, science, and ethics...
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Average life span is about 750,000 hours. Well over 2,000,000 people in prisons and jail. You would expect to see about 3 people an hour die in the prison system.

My math is probably off. Correct me. I haven't even had coffee yet this morning.
 
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Shawn Fox
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One big issue that is not apparently addressed in this report is that most people who spend time in jail don't spend very long in jail. So the apparently huge imbalance between deaths in the first week or two of being in jail is not the correct way to analyze the problem. You'd have to show the data as a percent compared to everyone that spends time in jail rather than as a raw count to have any reasonable basis for claiming people are actually more likely to die in their first few days of jail.

Basically I think these statistics are complete shit, even though I also think it is likely that people are more likely to die in the first few days they spend in jail than they are over their jail term. That is due to medical issues and of course suicide as the statistics note. I just don't think the problem is as big of an issue as the raw numbers try to make it look.

For a piece of ancedata, I had one of my cousins commit suicide after he was arrested when I was a kid. His mother of course refused to believe that he killed himself and accused the police of murdering him. I have no idea if that was true or not, but I can certainly see how people could react to something like that happening. My cousin was very drunk when he was arrested and hung himself (or was hung) by his shoe laces.
 
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Based upon my poor understanding of history, science, and ethics...
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Jail is stressful if you are innocent. I imagine there is a heart attack, amongst other issues, spike in the first few hours.

Now, imagine you are arrested and guilty, as are the vast majority of people in jail. I don't care how good your lawyer is. Stress?
 
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