Mother of Jamal Sutherland still hoping for change at Charleston Co. jail
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As one of South Carolina’s federal lawmakers is calling for an investigation into multiple inmate deaths at the Charleston County jail, the mother of one inmate who died there says she wants to know how many more must die before changes come.
First District Congresswoman Nancy Mace is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate multiple inmate deaths at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston. One of the most recent inmates to die in custody was 28-year-old D’angelo Brown.
But Amy Sutherland lost her son, Jamal, at the jail in January 2021, just hours after Sheriff Kristin Graziano took over the agency. Jamal Sutherland had mental health issues and had been brought to the jail from a mental health facility where he was being treated.
Two detention deputies used tasers on him multiple times as they forcibly removed him his cell to attend a bond hearing.
“Is something really going to change at that jail?” My baby’s gone and four or five parents behind me, same cry,” Sutherland says. “I don’t care if it’s 50 or 2. All parents want their kids to survive.”
Sutherland’s family received a $10 million settlement from Charleston County in Sutherland’s death.
His mother says jail should never be the answer for someone struggling with mental health issues.
”There’s not a psychiatrist in the jail. The only restraint the jail workers know is to lock them up further, which angers them even more,” she says. “So the jail should never be someplace that you put people who are sick. You don’t put people with cancer in the jail, so why you’re putting somebody with a mental illness? I don’t think nobody should be going to jail because they’re mentally ill and having a crisis.”
The Sutherlands are currently involved in a lawsuit with Wellpath, the company currently providing medical care at the detention center. None of the deputies involved in her son’s death were ever charged with a crime.
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