In April of 2016, inmate Terrill Thomas died due to severe dehydration while incarcerated at Milwaukee County, Wisconsin‘s main prison. Disturbing new details have recently come to light on the situation, leading to an official inquest now taking place.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, jail officials shut off the 38-year-old’s water for a full week before he passed away. These last seven days of his life were spent in solitary inside the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin jail. Thomas was placed in solitary due to an incident which occurred after his initial booking in the prison’s psychiatric wing, where he was sent due to his untreated mental issues, mainly bipolar disorder.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Thomas was placed under arrest after firing off a gun in a casino, a reaction provoked by his car having been robbed earlier that night. Upon being booked into his cell, the man is said to have launched into something of a psychotic rage, ripping up his mattress and refusing to let Milwaukee County, Wisconsin officials administer the necessary medication which would calm him down.
As such, he was moved into a private cell. The situation, however, only worsened from this point on. RT reveals that although the prisoner became calm and quiet after the relocation, he also turned very weak and lost almost 35 pounds over those seven days. A few hours into his eighth day in solitary confinement, jail officials discovered Terrill Thomas’s lifeless body on his cell floor. The cause of death was immediately determined as that of profound dehydration, and as such the investigation in question was launched.
The issue lies with the fact that, although Thomas did not ask for any kind of medical assistance himself, prison personnel should have been well aware of his mental issues and therefore had an obligation to make sure he was properly looked after. As such, there is a chance that the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin jail staff will face criminal charges for failing to look after the inmate.
Mental health rights groups are furious over the matter, as they are finding major fault in the prison officials’ attempted defense of Terrill Thomas’s death revolving around him not having “asked for help.” The cutting off of an inmate’s water supply in itself, they point out, is illegal and grounds for criminal charges regardless of the situation.
The inquest will follow general legal precedent; witnesses will be brought to a court of law, in which they will under oath and by a jury answer questions regarding the case at hand. After hearing the statements, the jury will then decide whether probable cause exists in which to charge anybody involved in the matter.
By Lorelai Zelmerlow
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