Many U.S. prisons fail to stop inmate suicides, an investigation by The Associated Press found. Suicide has long been the leading cause of death in U.S. jails. In just nine states, there were more than 300 suicides in local jails from 2015 to 2017. A series of lawsuits have argued that many of the deaths were avoidable. Of the 400 court files reviewed, 135 involved death by suicide, and another 30 involved suicide attempts. About a third of those cases allege that the inmates who committed or attempted suicide did so after staff refused to provide prescription medication to manage mental illness. The majority of suicides and attempts occurred within the first week of incarceration, and many inmates were not checked on regularly because of staffing shortages and inadequate training.
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