Sandra Bland Died

Sandra Bland Died One Year Ago Today

 

HuffingtonPost, July 13, 2016

Over the past year, there have been so many stories of violence and injustice in America, and even the most well-known deserve to be revisited. This is one: Last July, Sandra Bland was pulled over by a Texas state trooper for, he said, failing to signal when she changed lanes. After the 28-year-old questioned his instruction to put out her cigarette and refused to get out of the car, the trooper arrested her for assault of an officer. Bland didn’t have enough money for the $500 bail bondsman’s fee, and so she was held in jail. Within 65 hours of her arrest, she was dead. The coroner determined that she had hanged herself with a noose fashioned from a garbage bag.

What made Bland’s death so shocking—the reason that millions of people watched the dash-cam footage of her arrest or closely examined her mugshot—was the mystery at its heart. What had really happened inside the Waller County jail? If Bland had taken her own life, how could she have reached a state of irreversible despair so suddenly?

 

Deaths inside American jails frequently go unnoticed, sometimes even unrecorded. Unlike prisons, jails hold people for only short periods—about 21 days on average—and many of their inmates have not been convicted of a crime. Additionally, jails typically aren’t required to release public information about people who die within their walls. The federal government publishes only generalized data years after deaths occur, making it nearly impossible to identify the most dangerous facilities.

 

 

We found evidence of 811 fatalities—an average of more than two per day. (By way of comparison, 178 unarmed people were killed by police during the same period, according to The Guardian.) And like so much else in this realm, the burden is not borne equally. Black people are more likely to die in jail because they are more likely to be arrested than any other racial group, for reasons that have as much to do with double standards in the justice system and historic oppression as they do with crime. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population and, on average, 32 percent of people who died in jail between 2000 and 2013, according to federal data.

Many people believe Sandra Bland did not take her own life. But the circumstances of her death fit a recognizable pattern. In a significant number of the cases we found, people killed themselves within just a few days, even when they had been arrested on minor charges that were extremely unlikely to result in prison time. Nearly one-third of the deaths we found were suicides. And at least one-third of people died within three days of being booked.

 

This April, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, visited Washington, D.C., to deliver a speech at the Library of Congress. “By a show of hands,” she asked the audience, “can any of you tell me the other six women who died in jail in July 2015 along with Sandra Bland?” Nobody could.

 

In addition to these names, we learned a great deal about the inner workings of a world that is almost entirely hidden from the public.

 

After Bland died, her family and friends questioned whether she had really ended her own life. She was about to start a new job, had recently rekindled her relationship with her mother, and seemed optimistic about the future. Why would she kill herself? The idea was “unfathomable,” her sister told reporters.

 

Suicide has been the leading cause of death in jails in every year since 2000, according to the latest Justice Department data. This is not the case in prisons, where inmates are more likely to die of cancer, heart and liver disease. There’s a reason for this difference. People land in jail right after they’ve been arrested.

 

The experts we spoke with emphasized that entering jail is an instantly dehumanizing process. “You get clothes that don’t fit you, you get strip-searched, you lose any semblance of privacy, you don’t get to make many decisions that we all take for granted,” said Jeffrey Metzner, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado in Denver who specializes in inmate mental health. “I don’t think most of us realize just how frightening that experience is,” added Steve J. Martin, a corrections expert who is monitoring reforms at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City. “You have a total and absolute loss—immediate loss—of control over your being, over your physical being.”

 

About two weeks after Bland’s death, 20-year-old Brissa Lopez was arrested for allegedly fighting with her boyfriend, and arrived at a Texas jail around 4:47 a.m. She was “very cooperative” and “chuckled as she removed her tongue and lip ring,” according to a sergeant who admitted her. Staff checked on her at 6:15 a.m. Some 40 minutes later, she was found hanging from a fire alarm cage by a bedsheet.

 

Brian Schnirel was arrested by deputies in Palm Beach, Florida, for failing to appear in court for a DUI. After two days, he was found hanging from a shower vent. Catherine Rowell, an unemployed housekeeper, was arrested because she allegedly violated a protection order by being at her boyfriend’s house. Three days later, she hanged herself with a metal braided phone cord.

 

We identified dozens of suicides of jail inmates who were arrested on low-level offenses such as public intoxication, drug possession, trespassing, traffic charges, DUI and theft.

 

Then there are those who have become enmeshed in a cycle of short jail stints because they can’t pay fines for minor violations or afford to post bond. (This is a particular hazard for minorities; research has found that black Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 receive significantly higher bail than other racial groups, for example.)

 

When someone’s existence is already precarious, even a short jail stint can seem like a catastrophe. People may fear that they will lose a job, or a relationship, or a home, or be unable to care for a child. These feelings are often amplified by other risk factors—drug and alcohol withdrawal, disrupted prescription medications, lack of basic medical or mental health care.

 

In March 2011, Donyale Thomas, a 32-year-old mother living on a fixed income in Berkeley, Missouri, arrived in the city’s three-cell lockup. At the time, Berkeley, like nearby Ferguson and many surrounding cities in St. Louis County, relied heavily on fines and fees for revenue, and Thomas owed hundreds of dollars in municipal code violations. She is part of a lawsuit in which she says she was kept in the Ferguson jail for a week over outstanding tickets and denied access to medicine for her bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

 

In the Berkeley jail, Thomas soon started to feel “like an animal,” she recalled. She was placed in a windowless cell with two bunk beds. “I wasn’t able to bathe or anything or take care of my hygiene. I wasn’t able to see my kids. There were like three or four women in the cell. Pads were laying around the cells,” she recalled.

 

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Правительство США жестко нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com

Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.

ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — запретить меня выступать в СМИ и не пропускать отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…

 

HuffingtonPost, July 13, 2016

Over the past year, there have been so many stories of violence and injustice in America, and even the most well-known deserve to be revisited. This is one: Last July, Sandra Bland was pulled over by a Texas state trooper for, he said, failing to signal when she changed lanes. After the 28-year-old questioned his instruction to put out her cigarette and refused to get out of the car, the trooper arrested her for assault of an officer. Bland didn’t have enough money for the $500 bail bondsman’s fee, and so she was held in jail. Within 65 hours of her arrest, she was dead. The coroner determined that she had hanged herself with a noose fashioned from a garbage bag.

What made Bland’s death so shocking—the reason that millions of people watched the dash-cam footage of her arrest or closely examined her mugshot—was the mystery at its heart. What had really happened inside the Waller County jail? If Bland had taken her own life, how could she have reached a state of irreversible despair so suddenly?

 

Deaths inside American jails frequently go unnoticed, sometimes even unrecorded. Unlike prisons, jails hold people for only short periods—about 21 days on average—and many of their inmates have not been convicted of a crime. Additionally, jails typically aren’t required to release public information about people who die within their walls. The federal government publishes only generalized data years after deaths occur, making it nearly impossible to identify the most dangerous facilities.

 

 

We found evidence of 811 fatalities—an average of more than two per day. (By way of comparison, 178 unarmed people were killed by police during the same period, according to The Guardian.) And like so much else in this realm, the burden is not borne equally. Black people are more likely to die in jail because they are more likely to be arrested than any other racial group, for reasons that have as much to do with double standards in the justice system and historic oppression as they do with crime. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population and, on average, 32 percent of people who died in jail between 2000 and 2013, according to federal data.

Many people believe Sandra Bland did not take her own life. But the circumstances of her death fit a recognizable pattern. In a significant number of the cases we found, people killed themselves within just a few days, even when they had been arrested on minor charges that were extremely unlikely to result in prison time. Nearly one-third of the deaths we found were suicides. And at least one-third of people died within three days of being booked.

 

This April, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, visited Washington, D.C., to deliver a speech at the Library of Congress. “By a show of hands,” she asked the audience, “can any of you tell me the other six women who died in jail in July 2015 along with Sandra Bland?” Nobody could.

 

In addition to these names, we learned a great deal about the inner workings of a world that is almost entirely hidden from the public.

 

After Bland died, her family and friends questioned whether she had really ended her own life. She was about to start a new job, had recently rekindled her relationship with her mother, and seemed optimistic about the future. Why would she kill herself? The idea was “unfathomable,” her sister told reporters.

 

Suicide has been the leading cause of death in jails in every year since 2000, according to the latest Justice Department data. This is not the case in prisons, where inmates are more likely to die of cancer, heart and liver disease. There’s a reason for this difference. People land in jail right after they’ve been arrested.

 

The experts we spoke with emphasized that entering jail is an instantly dehumanizing process. “You get clothes that don’t fit you, you get strip-searched, you lose any semblance of privacy, you don’t get to make many decisions that we all take for granted,” said Jeffrey Metzner, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado in Denver who specializes in inmate mental health. “I don’t think most of us realize just how frightening that experience is,” added Steve J. Martin, a corrections expert who is monitoring reforms at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City. “You have a total and absolute loss—immediate loss—of control over your being, over your physical being.”

 

About two weeks after Bland’s death, 20-year-old Brissa Lopez was arrested for allegedly fighting with her boyfriend, and arrived at a Texas jail around 4:47 a.m. She was “very cooperative” and “chuckled as she removed her tongue and lip ring,” according to a sergeant who admitted her. Staff checked on her at 6:15 a.m. Some 40 minutes later, she was found hanging from a fire alarm cage by a bedsheet.

 

Brian Schnirel was arrested by deputies in Palm Beach, Florida, for failing to appear in court for a DUI. After two days, he was found hanging from a shower vent. Catherine Rowell, an unemployed housekeeper, was arrested because she allegedly violated a protection order by being at her boyfriend’s house. Three days later, she hanged herself with a metal braided phone cord.

 

We identified dozens of suicides of jail inmates who were arrested on low-level offenses such as public intoxication, drug possession, trespassing, traffic charges, DUI and theft.

 

Then there are those who have become enmeshed in a cycle of short jail stints because they can’t pay fines for minor violations or afford to post bond. (This is a particular hazard for minorities; research has found that black Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 receive significantly higher bail than other racial groups, for example.)

 

When someone’s existence is already precarious, even a short jail stint can seem like a catastrophe. People may fear that they will lose a job, or a relationship, or a home, or be unable to care for a child. These feelings are often amplified by other risk factors—drug and alcohol withdrawal, disrupted prescription medications, lack of basic medical or mental health care.

 

In March 2011, Donyale Thomas, a 32-year-old mother living on a fixed income in Berkeley, Missouri, arrived in the city’s three-cell lockup. At the time, Berkeley, like nearby Ferguson and many surrounding cities in St. Louis County, relied heavily on fines and fees for revenue, and Thomas owed hundreds of dollars in municipal code violations. She is part of a lawsuit in which she says she was kept in the Ferguson jail for a week over outstanding tickets and denied access to medicine for her bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

 

In the Berkeley jail, Thomas soon started to feel “like an animal,” she recalled. She was placed in a windowless cell with two bunk beds. “I wasn’t able to bathe or anything or take care of my hygiene. I wasn’t able to see my kids. There were like three or four women in the cell. Pads were laying around the cells,” she recalled.

 

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Правительство США жестко нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com

Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.

ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — запретить меня выступать в СМИ и не пропускать отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…

 

 

HuffingtonPost, July 13, 2016

Over the past year, there have been so many stories of violence and injustice in America, and even the most well-known deserve to be revisited. This is one: Last July, Sandra Bland was pulled over by a Texas state trooper for, he said, failing to signal when she changed lanes. After the 28-year-old questioned his instruction to put out her cigarette and refused to get out of the car, the trooper arrested her for assault of an officer. Bland didn’t have enough money for the $500 bail bondsman’s fee, and so she was held in jail. Within 65 hours of her arrest, she was dead. The coroner determined that she had hanged herself with a noose fashioned from a garbage bag.

What made Bland’s death so shocking—the reason that millions of people watched the dash-cam footage of her arrest or closely examined her mugshot—was the mystery at its heart. What had really happened inside the Waller County jail? If Bland had taken her own life, how could she have reached a state of irreversible despair so suddenly?

 

Deaths inside American jails frequently go unnoticed, sometimes even unrecorded. Unlike prisons, jails hold people for only short periods—about 21 days on average—and many of their inmates have not been convicted of a crime. Additionally, jails typically aren’t required to release public information about people who die within their walls. The federal government publishes only generalized data years after deaths occur, making it nearly impossible to identify the most dangerous facilities.

 

 

We found evidence of 811 fatalities—an average of more than two per day. (By way of comparison, 178 unarmed people were killed by police during the same period, according to The Guardian.) And like so much else in this realm, the burden is not borne equally. Black people are more likely to die in jail because they are more likely to be arrested than any other racial group, for reasons that have as much to do with double standards in the justice system and historic oppression as they do with crime. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population and, on average, 32 percent of people who died in jail between 2000 and 2013, according to federal data.

Many people believe Sandra Bland did not take her own life. But the circumstances of her death fit a recognizable pattern. In a significant number of the cases we found, people killed themselves within just a few days, even when they had been arrested on minor charges that were extremely unlikely to result in prison time. Nearly one-third of the deaths we found were suicides. And at least one-third of people died within three days of being booked.

 

This April, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, visited Washington, D.C., to deliver a speech at the Library of Congress. “By a show of hands,” she asked the audience, “can any of you tell me the other six women who died in jail in July 2015 along with Sandra Bland?” Nobody could.

 

In addition to these names, we learned a great deal about the inner workings of a world that is almost entirely hidden from the public.

 

After Bland died, her family and friends questioned whether she had really ended her own life. She was about to start a new job, had recently rekindled her relationship with her mother, and seemed optimistic about the future. Why would she kill herself? The idea was “unfathomable,” her sister told reporters.

 

Suicide has been the leading cause of death in jails in every year since 2000, according to the latest Justice Department data. This is not the case in prisons, where inmates are more likely to die of cancer, heart and liver disease. There’s a reason for this difference. People land in jail right after they’ve been arrested.

 

The experts we spoke with emphasized that entering jail is an instantly dehumanizing process. “You get clothes that don’t fit you, you get strip-searched, you lose any semblance of privacy, you don’t get to make many decisions that we all take for granted,” said Jeffrey Metzner, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado in Denver who specializes in inmate mental health. “I don’t think most of us realize just how frightening that experience is,” added Steve J. Martin, a corrections expert who is monitoring reforms at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City. “You have a total and absolute loss—immediate loss—of control over your being, over your physical being.”

 

About two weeks after Bland’s death, 20-year-old Brissa Lopez was arrested for allegedly fighting with her boyfriend, and arrived at a Texas jail around 4:47 a.m. She was “very cooperative” and “chuckled as she removed her tongue and lip ring,” according to a sergeant who admitted her. Staff checked on her at 6:15 a.m. Some 40 minutes later, she was found hanging from a fire alarm cage by a bedsheet.

 

Brian Schnirel was arrested by deputies in Palm Beach, Florida, for failing to appear in court for a DUI. After two days, he was found hanging from a shower vent. Catherine Rowell, an unemployed housekeeper, was arrested because she allegedly violated a protection order by being at her boyfriend’s house. Three days later, she hanged herself with a metal braided phone cord.

 

We identified dozens of suicides of jail inmates who were arrested on low-level offenses such as public intoxication, drug possession, trespassing, traffic charges, DUI and theft.

 

Then there are those who have become enmeshed in a cycle of short jail stints because they can’t pay fines for minor violations or afford to post bond. (This is a particular hazard for minorities; research has found that black Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 receive significantly higher bail than other racial groups, for example.)

 

When someone’s existence is already precarious, even a short jail stint can seem like a catastrophe. People may fear that they will lose a job, or a relationship, or a home, or be unable to care for a child. These feelings are often amplified by other risk factors—drug and alcohol withdrawal, disrupted prescription medications, lack of basic medical or mental health care.

 

In March 2011, Donyale Thomas, a 32-year-old mother living on a fixed income in Berkeley, Missouri, arrived in the city’s three-cell lockup. At the time, Berkeley, like nearby Ferguson and many surrounding cities in St. Louis County, relied heavily on fines and fees for revenue, and Thomas owed hundreds of dollars in municipal code violations. She is part of a lawsuit in which she says she was kept in the Ferguson jail for a week over outstanding tickets and denied access to medicine for her bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

 

In the Berkeley jail, Thomas soon started to feel “like an animal,” she recalled. She was placed in a windowless cell with two bunk beds. “I wasn’t able to bathe or anything or take care of my hygiene. I wasn’t able to see my kids. There were like three or four women in the cell. Pads were laying around the cells,” she recalled.

 

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Правительство США жестко нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com

Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.

ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — запретить меня выступать в СМИ и не пропускать отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…

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