Many offenders in Texas end up at the Dallas County Jail after they have been dealt with by the criminal justice system in Texas.
Jail by its very nature is a place of last resort. It should be tough. But it should not be dangerous. However, a series of deaths at the jail is undermining its image as a safe environment to house inmates.
In May, 2012 the third federal wrongful death lawsuit in four years was brought against the jail in relation to an inmate who died during a gith with jail officers.
“At issue is the question of whether restraint by the jail officers caused or contributed to the Nov. 10, 2011 death of George Barnes Koomson,” the newspaper reports.
Two other deaths at the jail are currently the subject of litigation. Corey Bailey, 31, and Gregory Kitchen, 32, were reported to have no health problems at the time of their deaths, according to their families. Bailey was being held in the jail on a drunk driving charge.
Reports revealed they died in separate incidents 18 months apart when they were restrained by a number of guards and pepper-sprayed, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Guards are accused of using excessive force, in the lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade ruled on March 28, 2012 that four Dallas County sheriff’s jail officers are not entitled to immunity in the lawsuit over Bailey’s death.
In the wrongful death case following Koomson’s death last year, his wife Mary Koomson, and Samuel Koomson, his father, have sued the county as well as unknown jail officers and Parkland Memorial Hospital, which provides medical services for inmates and is the place where Koomson was pronounced dead.
Koomson, 44, was arrested by Dallas police on Oct. 31, 2012 on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“On Nov. 3, he stopped breathing and was taken to Parkland where he was put on artificial life support, the suit said. He remained in a comatose state until his death a week later,” the Morning News reported.
The claims in the suit include allegations the jail guards used excessive force and unlawful restraint, while there was a failure to provide appropriate medical care.
Family members said they had been kept in the dark about what happened to Koomson between his arrest and his death.
The deaths of three inmates in less than four years, raise some fundamental questions about the regime at the Dallas County Jail.