Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, August 28, 2015

This is so sad

Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell: Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, had been held in Virginia jail without bail for nearly four months, accused of stealing a Mountain Dew, Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake
But the hospital said it had no vacancy and the 24-year-old was therefore detained in jail until his death on 19 August, according to Adams, Mitchell’s aunt, who said she had tried to assist the hospitalisation process herself but was left frustrated.

“He was just deteriorating so fast,” she said. “I kept calling the jail, but they said they couldn’t transfer him because there were no available beds. So I called Eastern State, too, and people there said they didn’t know anything about the request or not having bed availability.”

When asked which state agency was ultimately responsible for ensuring Mitchell was transferred to the hospital, the court clerk said: “It’s hard to tell who’s responsible for it.”

Officials from the court, the police department and the jail could not explain why Mitchell was not given the opportunity to be released on bail.
The young man, who reportedly had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, apparently starved himself to death and refused to take his medication. But the system failed Jamycheal Mitchell terribly, and this is another example of how those with mental illness wind up warehoused in jails rather than receiving help in hospitals, and how easy it is for someone to fall through the cracks in the system.

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