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Posted on December 30, 2014 by

Suicide in County Jail Raises Questions on Inmate Care

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder and possibly other mental illnesses, Josh Francisco moved through the St. Louis County jail system without getting the mental health care he needed.

Ultimately, Francisco committed suicide while unsupervised — after being allowed to decline treatment for an extended period of time.

Severe paranoia began Francisco’s problems. Severe distress led his wife to place a restraining order against him and later divorce him. Francisco’s parents say that he was not capable of understanding the restraining order. This led to repeated violations and arrests for stalking.

With sad irony, a probation officer placed Francisco in the jail system specifically for him to gain access to mental health facilities. As part of Francisco’s condition, he repeatedly refused medications and treatment. Despite this being a known symptom of his problems, authorities continually allowed Francisco to decline medications.

At the same time, Francisco was suffering from crippling paranoia and requested to be put in solitary. Soon after, in a room by himself without any monitoring from prison authorities, Francisco hanged himself.

The inmate care system knew about Francisco’s risks. The staff and system, whether incompetent or unwilling, failed to prevent a wrongful death born of illness.

If a loved one has been hurt while under the care of the prison system, please talk to your St. Louis attorney for help holding the system responsible for negligence or wrongful death.