Kyam Livingston begged for help. After seven hours of lying on the floor of a jail cell, the 38-year-old mother of two died, her calls unheeded by the correction officers providing security for the approximately 15 female inmates at Brooklyn “central booking” jail this past summer, according to witnesses and court documents.
Livingston was one of the few hundred jail deaths that happen across the country. In 2011, (the latest available numbers) 885 inmates died (pdf) in the custody of local jails, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. There is great hesitancy on the part of security to address sick complaints as seriously as they should be, writes The Crime Report’s Managing Editor Cara Tabachnick in a column for The Guardian, especially in jail where the churn of people is endless, with most disappearing quickly. For those with health issues, this suspension of belief can prove fatal.