Sean Levert R and B singer dies in jail the headline stared at me from a webpage on Cleveland.com. People die in jail frequently but this death made news because it was Sean Levert of the R and B Group Levert. He was the son of Eddie Levert of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the O’jays and he had a more famous singing brother, Gerald who died less than two years earlier.
According to Cleveland.com, Sean was sentenced to 22 months in jail for being arrears in child support. Five days after arriving at the Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland, Ohio prison jail warden Kevin McDonough said Sean had gotten sick… When he started pounding on his cell door, guards strapped him in a restraint chair. Sean’s breathing became shallow and he was taken to the hospital.
He was pronounced dead later at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland.
An autopsy stated that Sean Levert died from complications of Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease. The coroner also said Sean suffered from other conditions, including cardiovascular disease and withdrawal from Alprazolam a generic form of Xanax- a drug used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
Even though Sean was not in the best of health his death could have been prevented. Sarcoidosis and withdrawal from Xanax are not fatal if treated in a timely matter. Sean was in custody for (5) days without any treatment.
If Medical assistance had been provided to him sooner it probably would have saved his life.
Sean’s status of prisoner delayed his medical attention.
There is a disregard for prisoners and detainees in the United States.
Throughout the United States prisoners are dying in custody needlessly.
In Denver inmates told investigators that fellow prisoner Emily Rae Rice cried for help for hours in the Denver City Jail before she died, but deputies and nurses said she did not appear to be in grave condition, a Denver police report said according to the Denver Post.
Emily Rae Rice had been in an auto accident and was treated and released from a hospital when police took her into custody for driving under the influence.
The hospital failed to determine that she had a ruptured spleen before they released her into police custody.
When she began to complain that she did not feel well while in custody she was ignored.
In Baltimore Michael Payne died of a heart attack Dec. 30, 2007 while in the Baltimore County jail. Jail records show Payne required medical treatment four times since arriving Dec. 27 but was never taken to a hospital, according to The Examiner.
He was supposed to be checked every 15 minutes, but a surveillance video shows it took staff more than two hours to determine that he was in distress.
Cases like these are in the news almost daily.
Working with prisoners and trying to figure out who actually needs medical care is very difficult.
Prison officials have to deal with people that cry wolf, saying that they need medical attention so they can get out of the regular prison population.
Guards have a hard time telling who actually needs medical attention and who is faking.
Even so if a prisoner requests medical attention there should be a competent medical professional that can examine the prisoner to verify if in fact they need care.
The public is already paying for medical care for the prisoners with our taxes dollars. We might as well get our money’s worth.
Too many people believe that a prisoner has no rights. Many believe that if you did not do anything to get yourself arrested than you would not be in the predicament you are in.
“Stay out of jail and you do not have to worry about dying over a lack of medical care”, some people say.
We can be more humane than we are being. What if you or one of your loved ones were in jail and denied medical treatment?
Sean Leverts widow, Angela Lowe, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Cleveland that accuses his jailers of showing disregard for his medical needs. Lowe and Levert’s estate are seeking unspecified damages.
“Sean repeatedly requested and even begged his jailers, corrections staff and medical caregivers to provide him with care and his prescribed medication, which they knew he needed,” the lawsuit reads. “The Jail staff, the Sheriff’s staff, County staff and agents deliberately refused to provide Sean with his medication and care despite his repeated requests.”, it states on Cleveland.com.
The USA is supposed to be a civilized country. We are not a country that abuses human rights.
We can treat our prisoners more humanely.
A person in jail has the same rights as everyone else. They should not be ignored or mistreated just because they are incarcerated.