"Since Sandra" 72 Critical Hours

For my third "Methodology" module I chose to research a topic under the Journalism category. Under this category I conducted research within an article titled, "Since Sandra" which explores high rates of inmate deaths within the first 72 hours of incarceration.

Here is the link to the Huffington Post article

The article begins by displaying a graph which shows the 623 deaths that occured within US jails in the year after Sandra Bland died.

Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African-American woman who killed herself within the first 3 days (72 hours) of imprisonment. Her death was widely publicized and highlighted many flaws within the prison system involving checking in on inmates.


Here is the link to a Wikepedia post on the death of Sandra Bland

The first graph displayed within the artile shows the frequency of inmate deaths within a year of being arrested or jailed. The data revealed that :

The second graph in this article shows the variation within documentation of deaths within US prisons. Of the 800 people that died inside prison since the death of Sandra Bland;

  1. 31% were from suicide
  2. 27% were from either natural causes of medical emergencies
  3. 18% were still pending investigation
  4. The remaining percentage consicted of drugs and homocide

The article also goes into detail how obtaining details regarding the deaths of inmates is very defficult considering the sensitivity of the families and courts.In addition, states like Louisiana, only track the deaths of inmates in state custody, which is only a small percentage of the prison population. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also does not collect data from prison deaths within 72 hours, even though this 72 hours is the period of significant risk of inmates causing themselves harm.

In conclusion, the US prison system deserved significant evaluation in it's procedures involving prisoner checkups. The first 7 days of imprisonment recorded high rates of fatality while incarcerated; this means that prison guards should be checking in on the well being of inmates more frequently. I hope that the US prison system will continue to improve their procedures so that unnecessary deaths of inmates will cease.