People die in WA jails
A new report from Columbia Legal Services found that 210 people died in Washington state jails between 2005 and 2016, most within just days of booking.
A review of files from records from the 59 county, local and joint-jurisdictional jails found that the ages of death ranged from 18 to 82. The average age of death was 40.
More than 72 percent of deaths occurred within 14 days of incarceration, most within the first week they were in jail.
According to the report, the majority of early deaths involved alcohol, drugs or suicide. Those categories made up 85 percent of deaths that took place within 72 hours of incarceration.
By far, most died of suicide. One-third of deaths of women, or 15 females, killed themselves. Seventy-two men killed themselves while in jail, making up 45 percent of all male deaths.
Withdrawal, trauma and potential mental illness make jails high-risk environments for suicide. Even so, only 20 percent of jails have written policies that deal with the important components of suicide, according to the report.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside City Hall on May 21 to protest the rise of anti-abortion bills being passed by state legislatures.
In recent weeks, Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, Utah, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama have passed increasingly restrictive bans on abortion. Many are so-called “heartbeat bans,” meaning women could not get an abortion after a heartbeat was detectable at roughly six weeks.
That is before most women even know they are pregnant.
Alabama went a step further, banning all abortions after a woman knows she is pregnant — something of a catch-22 — and punishing doctors who perform abortions with up to 99 years in jail. The law makes no exception for rape or incest, which means that if a woman got an abortion after such an event, her doctor could go to jail longer than her assailant.
Alabama’s law was specifically drafted to go to the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy was a staunch defender of abortion rights, but activists are less convinced of the politics of his successor, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The newest justice is most famous for his predilection for beer and angry outbursts in front of Congress.
The Trump administration has opened an all-out assault on transgender rights, floating changes to federal policy that would allow discrimination in homeless shelters and at the doctor’s office.
The rules are not yet final, but would allow shelter providers to deny access to transgender people to single-sex and sex-segregated shelters.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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