Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was incarcerated at the maximum-security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts. Hernandez hanged himself inside his cell. He was serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of his friend, Odin Lloyd.
The Bureau of Justice Statistic’s data reveals that the number of inmates who have died in jails and prisons increased in 2014. With that statistic, the number of suicides have increased as well.
The number of suicides in state prisons increased 30 percent in 2014. Suicides rose to 249 deaths from 192 in 2013.
Suicides in local jails increased 13 percent in 2014. Suicides increased to 372 deaths from 328 in 2013.
The National Institute of Corrections issued a report in 2010 stating:
“From the inmate’s perspective, certain features of the jail environment enhance suicidal behavior: fear of the unknown, distrust of an authoritarian environment, perceived lack of control over the future, isolation from family and significant others, shame of incarceration, and perceived dehumanizing aspects of incarceration.”
Mental Health America issued a policy statement about the care of inmates with mental health issues:
“Over the past 50 years [America has] gone from institutionalizing people with mental illnesses, often in subhuman conditions, [in state mental health hospitals] to incarcerating them at unprecedented and appalling rates—putting recovery out of reach for millions of Americans […] On any given day, between 300,000 and 400,000 people with mental illnesses are incarcerated in jails and prisons across the United States, and more than 500,000 people with mental illnesses are under correctional control in the community.”
Because of overcrowding, budget cuts, and other contributing factors, mentally ill inmates receive insufficient or no mental health care at all.
We do not know what caused Aaron Hernandez to commit suicide, but we do know that effective mental health care would reduce the number of suicides that occur every year in our jails and prisons.
By; Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com