Like a third-world country.
On June 12, 2022, Lashawn Thompson, 35, was arrested and detained on a misdemeanor battery charge.
Three months later, on September 12, 2022, Fulton County jail staff declared Thompson dead in his cell. Bedbugs ate him alive.
Neglect and Deterioration
Thompson’s family attorney, Michael Harper, said jail officials placed Thompson in the psychiatric wing after determining he had schizophrenia.
The Fulton County Jail cell where Lashawn Thomspon died.
Lashawn Thompson’s cell in Fulton County jail.Detention officers and medical staff at the jail noticed Thompson’s deterioration, including an infection from bedbugs and lice on his torso, but did nothing to help.
Bedbug bites are not usually fatal, but massive bed bug infestation can cause severe anemia, which can be lethal if left untreated. Bedbugs feed on blood, and many bed bugs feed on large amounts of blood.
When his body was found, one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because, in her words, she ‘freaked out,'” Harper wrote in a press release.
The Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat described the jail as having “dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions,” with hundreds of inmates sleeping on the floors. A new facility could cost $2 billion.
The Sheriff’s Office said it would expend $500,000 “to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice, and other vermin within the Fulton County Jail.”
Lashawn Thompson after spending three months in Fulton County Jail.According to a Fulton County Medical Examiner’s report, there were no obvious signs of trauma on Thompson’s body, but his entire body was covered in bed bugs.
The report also notes a “severe bed bug infestation” in the inmate’s cell in the psychiatric ward.
Thompson’s cause of death was listed as undetermined.
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) found at least 10 deaths inside the Fulton County jail in 2022.
SCHR “found that 90 percent of the people in the unit had not been completing their ‘activities of daily living’—including showering, dressing, getting out of bed, walking and using the toilet—or receiving essential medications.”
Further medical findings showed that over 90 percent of the affected people were significantly malnourished, showing signs of cachexia—a wasting syndrome leading to the loss of muscle and fat, often seen in people with late-stage cancers.”
During a September outbreak, “100 percent of the people held in one [psychiatric] unit had either lice, scabies and or both.”
Indiana Treatment of Joshua McLemore
Joshua McLemore, 29, with a history of drug abuse and schizophrenia, was taken to a hospital on July 20, 2021.
After exhibiting signs of mental distress, including grabbing a nurse’s hair, he was arrested, charged with battery, and transported to Jackson County Jail.
McLemore was placed in Padded Cell 7, which had no windows, bed, or seat. The bathroom in the cell was blocked by a locked door. McLemore was forced to urinate and defecate on the floor where he slept and ate.
Several officers restrain Joshua McLemore on July 20, 2021. [Courtesy McLemore estate]
NEW from @TanaGaneva at @theappeal: A lawsuit filed today says that jail guards in Indiana locked a man in solitary while he had a psychotic break for three weeks, gave him no toilet access, & let him starve to death. We obtained graphic jail footage. https://t.co/cvBkE96Ef7
— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) April 12, 2023
Despite being placed under “medical observation,” no medical monitoring was conducted, and observation logs were not filled out for most of his time in jail.
McLemore’s psychosis was evident during his time in jail, as he played with food, rolled around in trash, smeared feces, and ate paper. He was rarely let out of his cell and placed in restraints on the few occasions he was.
McLemore lost nearly 45 pounds and was unable to drink without assistance. He died of starvation after about 20 days in solitary confinement.
Joshua McLemore lying in a filthy windowless cell on August 8, 2021. [Photo: Jackson County Sheriff’s Office]Terrill Thomas, 38, in Milwaukee, died after being locked up at the Milwaukee County Jail.
In isolation, guards shut off Thomas’ water for days, and he died of dehydration. During his eight days at the jail, Thomas lost 34 pounds.
Fort Smith Arkansaw
Larry Eugene Price, Jr., was arrested for threatening and cursing at police officers and taken to the Sebastian County Detention Center. A judge set the bond at $1,000. He would have been free with $100 bail, but he was homeless.
Price, 51, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, which caused him to experience delusions, visual and auditory hallucinations, disordered thinking, and severe agitation.
He was placed in solitary confinement, where he lived for about a year. Price was denied his one allotted hour out of solitary per day.
Price acted erratically, spitting, cursing, throwing trash, disobeying orders, flinging feces and bodily fluids, covering his head, rolling around on the floor, barking, rambling incoherently, flooding his cell, and kicking his cell door.
The jail chose to withhold his psychotropic medications.
They also chose not to ensure he was fed. He resorted to eating his own feces and drinking his own urine.
Price’s cell in the SHU
Price [above] weighed about 180 pounds at the time of his arrest in 2020. By August 2021, he weighed 90 pounds.
Price’s hands were wilted. He was so weak he could not stand. He resembled a victim of famine.
On August 29, 2021, jail staff noticed Price was unresponsive. His eyes were open, naked, starved, dried saliva on the corners of his mouth, in a pool of standing water so large his feet had shriveled.
The autopsy lists the manner of death as malnutrition and dehydration.
Sebastian County Sheriff Hobe Runion said: “Let me make one thing clear: The jail staff gave this inmate plenty of food and water every single day. The jail medical staff had regular contact with him.”
The United States, home to the largest corrections system in the world with over 2 million people incarcerated, sees thousands of inmates die in American jails and prisons each year.
Price’s prison cell.
According to PrisonPolicy.org, the US incarcerates more people per capita than any nation, at the rate of 565 per 100,000 residents.
As of 2023, between the thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal “justice” systems, PrisonPolicy.org found nearly 2 million people in the US are incarcerated across “1,566 state prisons, 98 federal prisons, 3,116 local jails, 1,323 juvenile correctional facilities, 181 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian country jails, as well as military prisons, civilian commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the US territories.”