Indiana man with psychological sickness dies bare after 20 days of isolation in jail, lawsuit claims

A person with a historical past of psychological sickness died after 20 days locked away, bare, in a windowless, isolation cell at a southern Indiana jail, the place he misplaced almost 45 kilos and did not obtain crucial care, a federal lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the property of Joshua McLemore, who died in August 2021 of a number of organ failure after being incarcerated on the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, about 70 miles south of Indianapolis.

In July 2021, the 29-year-old Seymour, Indiana, man was taken to a hospital after a constructing upkeep employee discovered McLemore at his condominium, mendacity on the ground, bare and confused. Police arrested him on the hospital for pulling a nurse’s hair whereas in a state of psychosis, and he was charged with battery, in line with courtroom data.


McLemore was positioned within the jail’s isolation cell, the place 4 guards pinned him in opposition to a wall and compelled him to his knees, together with his face wedged into the nook of a concrete wall, in line with video surveillance, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The lawsuit alleges that McLemore’s constitutional rights had been violated whereas he was in isolation on the jail, a interval throughout which he barely slept. As an alternative, he spent hours staring into area, screaming, laughing, speaking, gesticulating, sitting up and mendacity down, typically lined in his personal waste, it alleges.

No psychological well being skilled or doctor checked on McLemore, whilst jail officers witnessed clear indicators of psychological sickness, the go well with alleges.

Joshua McLemore, 29-year-old man with a history of mental illness, died of organ failure after he was locked away for 20 days in isolation at a southern Indiana jail. 

Joshua McLemore, 29-year-old man with a historical past of psychological sickness, died of organ failure after he was locked away for 20 days in isolation at a southern Indiana jail. 

McLemore ate and drank little of what the jail workers slipped by means of a slot in his cell door, the go well with states, and he as an alternative threw the meals on the ground and typically nibbled on the Styrofoam containers packaging the meals.

He weighed 197.8 kilos when he arrived on the Jackson County Jail on July 20, 2021, however when he left the jail in an ambulance on Aug. 8, 2021, he weighed simply 153 kilos, after shedding almost 45 kilos in lower than three weeks within the jail, in line with the go well with.

He died of a number of organ failure two days later.

McLemore, who had a historical past of schizophrenia and substance abuse, was raised in Lengthy Seaside, Mississippi, and moved to Indiana in late 2020. He deteriorated in clear view of jail officers and safety cameras however jailers confirmed neglect and “deliberate indifference” to his wellbeing, conserving him in solitary confinement for twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week, the go well with alleges.


“No person deserves to be handled like that,” mentioned Seattle lawyer Hank Balson, who represents McLemore’s property. “No person deserves to be ignored once they’re struggling in that type of situation.”

Jackson County Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant decided final summer season, almost a 12 months after McLemore died, that the actions by jail officers didn’t rise to the extent of against the law. However the prosecutor additionally discovered that McLemore “almost definitely died on account of a chronic lack of consideration” from the jail workers.

The go well with names as defendants Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer, different jail supervisors and medical workers, and Superior Correctional Healthcare, Inc., a Tennessee-based personal contractor that gives healthcare providers to the Jackson County Jail and about 370 different correctional amenities in 21 states.

A message searching for touch upon the lawsuit from the sheriff’s workplace was left Thursday by The Alokito Mymensingh 24.

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“We take criticisms of the care supplied by our group severely. We’re prohibited from disclosing affected person data on account of federal HIPAA privateness and confidentiality legal guidelines,” mentioned Jessica Younger, president and chief government of Superior Correctional Healthcare in a press release.

The lawsuit filed over McLemore’s loss of life is just like the case of a mentally sick man who froze to loss of life earlier this 12 months at an Alabama jail. In a lawsuit filed in February, that man’s household alleges that the 33-year-old was stored bare in a concrete cell, and likewise presumably positioned in a freezer or different frigid surroundings.

In December, nearly a 12 months and a half after McLemore died, Joshua’s mom Rhonda died unexpectedly.

“Josh was my sister’s solely little one. His loss devastated her,” Lita Ladner, Joshua McLemore’s aunt, mentioned in a press release. “He was additionally my solely nephew, and a faithful buddy to many. Regardless that he struggled with psychological well being points, we cherished him with all our hearts.”

Peter Johnson