Grand Jury Implores Changes After Juvenile’s Jail Death

An 18-year-old man suffered brain injuries in a juvenile jail last July. He died after what was determined to be about six hours of neglect. Now a grand jury is asking the Florida legislature to make changes so that such a death cannot happen again.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the grand jury determined last month that the man died after suffering two blows to the head. It’s possible that one was caused by officers while a search was being conducted. After he apparently started hallucinating in his jail cell, guards let him out and he fell, striking his head on a table.

Even though he complained that his head hurt, guards apparently did not give him medical attention. At one point he fell asleep but soon vomited. The Sentinel reports that staff seemed more concerned about cleaning up around him than helping him out. After several hours, he died.

A supervisor apparently had said that he did not want to call 911 because he thought the man was “faking” and that it would require extra paperwork. Eventually, nine guards who worked at the detention center were fired for their roles in the incident.

The grand jury determined that criminal charges could not be filed since there was no Florida statute applying to death by neglect at juvenile jail. That’s something the grand jury wants changed, and it urged lawmakers to create legislation that would criminalize such an act.

The move would come too late for the victim, but could save others’ lives.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Man died of brain injuries after 6 hours of neglect in juvenile jail, Palm Beach County grand jury says,” Peter Franceschina, March 9, 2012


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