Inmate Who Testified in Mental Health Trial Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Dec 21, 2016

An Alabama inmate who complained about poor mental health care in state prisons has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

24-year-old Jamie Wallace suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He told jurors in a class action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections he wasn’t asked about his mental health status upon entering prison. Wallace attempted suicide multiple times, and said a prison guard once gave him a razor to use to kill himself.

The Alabama Department of Corrections says Williams was found hanged in his cell at the Bullock County prison last week.

Maria Morris is an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center representing Wallace and other inmates in the lawsuit. She says Wallace’s death makes it that much more clear: mentally ill inmates are not receiving the care they should.

“They currently medicate them a lot, and have LPNs pass by their cells and give them medications and write down ‘Inmate okay, inmate okay…’ Clearly Mr. Wallace was not okay.”

The Alabama Department of Corrections maintains inmates do receive adequate mental health care in state prisons.