Michigan - $3.25 Million Suit re Torture/Death of Sick Prisoner
A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit involving the prison torture and death of Timothy Souders, a young man with psychiatric problems who was shackled to a cement slab for four days until his death. We rejoice over the legal victory of our fellow advocate for the imprisoned mentally ill, Theresa Souders, her family, and supporters! Even more exciting than a satisfactory conclusion to this bereaved mother’s legal battles is the fact that Tim’s suffering and jail death were not in vain.
As a result of Tim's death and his family's lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen ordered the Corrections Department to stop using four-point restraints as punishment in the prison complex. We believe that our judges and elected officials are coming to understand that mentally challenged citizens cannot be tortured into a state of mental health.
Homelessness, jail, and death must not continue to be our answers to mental illness in America.
State settles $3.25 million lawsuit over Timothy Souders’ death in prison
Pat Shellenbarger | The Grand Rapids Press
July 10, 2008
A $3.25 million lawsuit settlement in no way makes up for the death of her son in a Michigan prison, Theresa Vaughn said, nor will it stop her campaign to improve prison conditions.
Timothy Souders, 21, died of dehydration and heat exhaustion after nearly four days shackled to a cement slab in a Jackson prison during an August 2006 heat wave, adding urgency to the prison reform movement and prompting Gov. Jennifer Granholm to commission a study of prison health care.
More people who are concerned about human rights should become involved in the effort to decriminalize mental illness in America. No one deserves to be punished or killed for being sick. Judges and elected officials must come to realize that imprisoning the mentally ill is not only morally wrong, it is unnecessarily expensive for taxpayers who are required to bear the financial burden of wrongful death suits such as the one highlighted in this story. We must not continue to substitute psychiatrists with police officers, mental hospitals with prison cells, or tranquilizers with Taser guns and restraint tables and chairs, which are responsible for numerous deaths of mental patients annually.
Voice your opinion on the survey below, and pray that our judges and elected officials will listen!
PUNISHMENT OR TREATMENT FOR MENTALLY ILL AMERICANS?
http://www.surveymo nkey.com/ s.aspx?sm= eBWphMwXQnxAi6m_ 2bLKqUEw_ 3d_3d
People who agree that the deaths of mentally ill citizens under incarceration deserve investigation, are signing the petition below to help the Neal family in their justice quest regarding the secret inacarceration and wrongful death of Larry Neal, a 54-year-old lifelong mental patient who also had a heart condition. Memphis/Shelby County Jaill arrested this man and kept him secretly contained in the jail facility for 18 days until his died under UNDISCLOSED CIRCUMSTANCES on August 1, 2003. The USDOJ, which was in overview of the jail at the time, refuses to investigate, and the Shelby County Government refuses to give the family any excuse, explanation, full autopsy report, arrest records, and Larry Neal's family has been denied any investigation or accountability whatsoever.
Memphis/Shelby County has nation's third-highest jail incarceration rate. Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons reported in 2007 that his office handled 105,000 cases that year. After Shelby County Jail was found guilty of neglect and abuse to inmates, the United States Department of Justice was placed in overview of the facility and was supervising the jail when Larry Neal was secretly arrested and died there. However, the USDOJ refuses to do its job and investigate the tragic death of this disabled American who died under mysterious circumstances in government custody.
Since Shelby County Jail was already under USDOJ overview and the jail was under a federal Order to make regular reports to the USDOJ, Larry Neal's family appealed directly to the USDOJ for a copy of the inmate fatality report the USDOJ was to have received from the jail regarding Larry Neal's death.
The USDOJ responded that it received no reports whatsoever regarding Larry Neal's death from Shelby County Jail.
When Larry's family asked the USDOJ for the jail's reports from the timeframe while Larry was under secret arrest and died on August 1, 2003, the USDOJ responded that there were no reports from the jail during that entire time period while Larry was incarcerated.
Does this describe what is happening? - "Neal family, the USDOJ won't let you see that Shelby County officials filed fraudulent reports with the U.S. Government for the timeframe July and August 2003, omitting from said reports Larry Neal's name in order to hide this handicapped American's secret incarceration and wrongful death in that facility. And no, we won't investigate and possibly have to prosecute our friends over that useless black man."
Is this why The Johnnie Cochran Firm contracted with Larry Neal's family to be their wrongful death attorneys in an undisclosed conflict of interest and then did nothing to sue the jail (the managing partner of The Cochran Firm's Memphis office was a Shelby County Commissioner, but this information was withheld from Larry's family)? Is this why the government seems to protect The Cochran Firm from the Neal's attempts to hold The Cochran Firm accountable for its fraud and malpractice?
Is this why Neal family members suffer stalking incidents in cyberspace and in person, but police did not respond timely to Mary Neal's emergency 911 call when waylaid in a neighborhood business?
Is this why FBI agents went to the home of Larry Neal's niece and questioned this 45-year-old grandmother and former civil servant about nude dancing after she facilitated serving the Neals' lawsuit on The Cochran Firm's Memphis office?
In 2006, did the USDOJ allow Shelby County to present fraudulent testimony on record during federal hearings to obtain a Release from the terms of the lawsuit, U.S.A. v. Shelby County Jail, or did they remember to mention a human being named Larry Neal that time? No - the jail could not have mentioned Larry during those hearings, because the USDOJ reported to Larry's family again in 2007 that it had no records of Larry Neal in any Shelby County Jail reports.
USDOJ, why did you allow Release hearings for Shelby County Jail, knowing about Larry Neal's secret arrest and wrongful death there, and did you then allow jail officials to lie on the court records by again omitting his death?
Is there some conspiracy going on around here?
PETITION TO THE USDOJ INVESTIGATE MENTALLY ILL JAIL INMATE’S SECRET ARREST, WRONGFUL DEATH, AND CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE THAT FOLLOWED. The petition for DOG JUSTICE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL at this link can be opened and the signers' comments viewed without endorsing the petition. http://www.petitiononline.com/Neal/petition.html
SEE MORE about the need for decriminalizing mental illness in America at this link:
Author's page: http://www.care2.com/c2c/people/profile.html?pid=513396753
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill: http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/AIMI
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Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States