San Joaquin County Jail Suicide

On January 18, 2006, a San Joaquin County mother of a teenage boy held in the San Joaquin County Jail on minor drug charges was awarded, $758,000 in compensatory damages by a Sacramento jury after a three week federal jury trial. The teenager, who had schizophrenia, committed suicide after being held in 24 hour a day lock down for a period of three months without any treatment. Due to his incompetence to stand trial, the court had ordered his transfer to the state hospital. However, that order was never carried out.
The jury found that the County deliberately and indifferently violated this young man’s civil rights by denying him access to medical treatment, failed to protect him, and failed to properly train, supervise and discipline its officers and employees in order to prevent such unnecessary deaths. The indifference was found to be systemic in nature. The jury found not only the county but also the sheriff and treating physician individually liable. On Feb. 22 the jury awarded $100,000 in punitive damages against the psychiatrist whose recklessness allowed this suicide to happen.
Attorney for plaintiff, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children Board Member Geri Green, is pleased with the victory. She said, ?Today, it is jails and prisons that house those suffering from severe mental illness. This jury heard what actually happens behind those walls and was outraged.?