August 19, 2010
Accused “Craigslist Killer” Philip Markoff was found dead Sunday after he reportedly committed suicide. The fact that his apparent suicide occurred while in custody brought to mind a few recent calls I’ve taken on prisoner civil rights suits.
None of those calls dealt specifically with inmate suicide, but ranged from the alleged failure of prison officials to protect an inmate from violence, to allegations of the denial of religious freedom. I’ve found the secondary source Rights of Prisoners (RGTSPRISON) to be quite helpful in researching those types of issues. That database has a section dealing specifically with inmate suicide.
I also ran an ALLCASES search on Westlaw.com for sy,di(prison! inmate incarcerat! /5 suicid! /s negligen! “wrongful death”) to get a feel for some of the litigation that exists on this issue and retrieved 137 documents. On WestlawNext, try a search in all jurisdictions for liability for inmate’s suicide.