Man with mental health issues dies in solitary confinement; lawsuit filed
JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. (CNN) - A lawsuit has been filed in Indiana on behalf of a man with a history of schizophrenia and substance abuse who died in 2021 while he was being held in solitary confinement.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The complaint accuses jailers of putting Joshua McLemore in a small, windowless, padded isolation cell, during his nearly three-week stay at the Jackson County jail where he reportedly suffered from dehydration and malnutrition.
According to the lawsuit, McLemore was in the midst of an “acute mental health crisis” when he was taken to jail.
The lawsuit includes surveillance video from McLemore’s time in jail, showing him naked in a cell that appears to have substances smeared on the walls and floor.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The video contains content that some may find disturbing.
The official autopsy lists McLemore’s immediate cause of death as “multiple organ failure due to refusal to eat or drink with altered mental status due to untreated schizophrenia.”
A history of methamphetamine withdrawal was also listed as a contributory cause of death.
A 2022 investigation by the Jackson County prosecuting attorney found that no crimes were committed against McLemore by the employees of the Jackson County Jail.
When McLemore entered the jail, he weighed nearly 198 pounds.
According to the lawsuit, he lost about 45 pounds in the roughly three weeks he was at the facility.
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