“There was not a single violent tendency in that man, you can tell by looking at his record. And his entire criminal record is because of alcoholism and substance-use disorder, homelessness and poverty.”
For days, members of the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board did not know who had really died within the walls of the jail on November 26. That is because they were emailed an old notice, a death copy-and-pasted from before, from another death that took place inside the ACJ earlier this year.
Jail administrators didn’t realize their error for nearly a week, according to Allegheny County Councilor at Large Bethany Hallam, who is also a member of the jail oversight board. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing: administrators had mistaken the jail’s most recent death for another, a suicide that occurred in June. To Hallam, it felt careless.
(The Allegheny County jail has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. There were nine suicides at the facility between 2016 and June of this year.)