North Carolina Sees Record Number Of Jail Deaths In 2018

North Carolina Sees Record Number Of Jail Deaths In 2018

11:47am Feb 18, 2019
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The number of jail deaths in North Carolina hit a record level in 2018. 

Forty-four inmates died in prison or at a medical facility after becoming ill in jail last year, according to numbers provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The state has been tracking prison deaths since 1997.

While investigators did find some serious supervision problems in some of the deaths, the percentage of cases in which inmates were not properly overseen may actually be going down.

Officials tell The News and Observer that one potential reason for the higher numbers is better reporting by prison facilities.  

And jails are grappling with a growing number of inmates with mental illness, drug addictions, or both.

Some disability rights activists say the DHHS unit responsible for inmate supervision and safety needs more funding. 

The state is currently considering new rules that will tighten inmate supervision and require suicide prevention programs in prisons.

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