Lawsuit Can Continue that Alleges Inadequate Mental Health Care Contributed to Suicide of Inmate in Virginia Maximum Security Prison

Simmons v. Johnson, No. 7:05 CV 00053, 2005 WL 2671537 (W.D. Va. Oct. 20, 2005)

The United States Supreme Court, in Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), established that the Eighth Amendment is violated when prison officials are deliberately indifferent to an inmate's serious illness or injury.  This ruling has been widely interpreted to encompass an inmate's serious mental health needs as well.  When an inmate commits suicide, a lawsuit may be filed that asserts that the inmate's constitutional rights were violated because prison officials failed to provide the requisite adequate mental health services despite knowing of the inmate's mental health needs, and the absence of these services contributed to the inmate's suicide...

Found in DMHL Volume 25 Issue 2