Our View: High suicide rates at Bristol jails should be investigated

South Coast Today
June 30, 2018

No matter how you analyze it, we need to know why nearly 25 percent of the state’s jail suicides between 2006 and 2016 occured in Bristol County jails when only 13 percent of the inmates were housed there.

It doesn’t matter whether the jails are run by a Republican or a Democrat. And it doesn’t matter whether the person calling for the investigation is a Democrat or a Republican.

What matters is that there is evidence of a worrisome trend over a long period of time that Bristol County inmates are losing their lives in significantly higher numbers than in facilities in the rest of the state.

Bonita Tenneriello, a staff attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Services, says that routine state monitoring of the prisons does not delve into the details about how inmates are treated. She suggests that state officials consider better oversight of all the county jails in Massachusetts. It is the state, not the counties, that funds the county jails.

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