Michigan to Pay $860,000 in Lawsuit Over Prison Guards Who Bet on a Woman Inmate’s Suicide

Illustration for article titled Michigan to Pay $860,000 in Lawsuit Over Prison Guards Who Bet on a Woman Inmate’s Suicide
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How much is an incarcerated person’s life worth? At one Michigan jail, about the cost of a Subway sandwich.

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That’s what corrections officers wagered in response to a suicidal inmate, 25-year-old Janika Edmond, who threatened to kill herself—and requested help from guards—before eventually hanging herself in a prison shower.

The Michigan Department of Corrections settled a lawsuit earlier this month filed by Edmond’s family regarding her 2015 death, paying out $860,000 to her brothers and the law firms that took on Edmond’s case, according to the Detroit Free Press. Video evidence brought forward in the lawsuit showed corrections officer Dianna Callahan pumping her fist and shouting “Somebody owes me lunch!” after Edmond requested a suicide prevention vest, the Huffington Post reports.

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“Court documents suggest the guards had wagered a Subway sandwich,” wrote the online news outlet.

Not only was her request ignored, but guards didn’t respond immediately when Edmond could be heard choking in the prison shower at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility just minutes later. According to HuffPost, Edmond, who had a history of mental illness and suicidal ideation, ended up dying at a nearby hospital days later.

But as the Detroit Free Press reports, the negligence didn’t end there. The Department of Corrections violated department policy by not promptly notifying Michigan State Police about Edmond’s death.

Per the terms of the settlement, Edmond’s two brothers will receive just under $275,000 each.

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Two guards were punished following the young woman’s suicide: Callahan and prison counselor Kory Moore were fired, though Moore was later reinstated (she eventually left the job on her own accord, the HuffPost notes). Callahan, 49, pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter at a trial held last October.

How much is a prisoner’s life worth?

Callahan was sentenced to six months in jail for her role in Edmond’s death.

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

feministonfire
FeministOnFire

At what point do insurance companies and controllers and budget managers start insisting that employers start screening for racists and training them what idiotic things NOT to do? I mean I know the money being paid out isn’t astronomical for them but I’ve never known institutions to LIKE paying out money...