This is in response to the following article in the Orange County Register and several comments posted by people on the OCR Website.
Here are two of the comments that I am responding to. The one from haminator has several back and forth replies that can be seen at the link above.
5:03 PM on August 2, 2010
Shouldn’t it be “Man hung self” ? The OCR title just doesn’t sound right. Either way, um…shouldn’t Newport Beach PD perhaps begin to instill a new regime of perhaps checking on their arrestees more often so people don’t do this? Whether or not people are suicidal perhaps taking away whatever it is they are using to hang themselves with may be a good idea. I’m just sayin.
3:25 PM on August 2, 2010
This guy looks like he was a pretty well-rounded “jurk.” In OC alone he was convicted of two felonies for fighting and spousal abuse, along with numerous traffic and other violations (even a misdemeanor for not properly restraining his dog). I apologize if this isn’t the same guy, but it looks like he may have done us all a big favor.
MY THOUGHTS ON SUICIDES IN JAILS
1ANGELSFAN: In my opinion it should be “Man hung himself In Newport Beach Jail.” You are correct, that title just looks awkward, even if it is proper grammar. As to the story itself, regardless of an inmates desire to take his/her life when incarcerated, I believe it is the duty of the Jail Staff, to make provisions to ensure that this “desire” is not carried out successfully. I speak from hard experience on this one as my sister, Natalie Ann Amador, took her own life in the exact same way on Valentine’s Day, 2009 in the Robert Presley Detention Center (Riverside County).
She was found dead in her cell at 12:20 p.m. on a Saturday in a brand new jail. I’m not here to do any ax grinding but just to point out something that I guess the personnel of jails everywhere just don’t seem to understand. Many studies have shown that the vast majority of inmate suicides have taken place during the first 72 hours after arrest. This is probably due to many factors and I don’t need to list all of them here. For my sister I think it was a combination of being super bummed she got arrested and was definitely facing some time along with being forced to come off of drugs in a way that must be shocking to a habitual users psyche.
The reasons why aren’t really as important to me as the need for Correctional Facilities to come to grips with the reality of this phenomenon and take proactive measures to ensure it doesn’t happen anymore. I knew Billy Wedgeworth and yes he did have issues but I’m not one to judge anyone for anything. His issues notwithstanding, he should still be alive. Dollars to donuts if he could somehow, someway, be given a choice whether or not to follow through with what I’m sure was an act of impulsive desperation say today for instance, I have serious doubts as to whether he would go through with it. I truly feel that the same can be said for the majority of these people (like my sister Natalie). I read one comment that summarized the situation quite adeptly…”a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.
I also read some other comments and the responses to them. It is nobody’s place to judge a person’s life except for God right? It seems especially ignorant to judge a persons life based upon an arrest record that is retrieved online via the Superior Court’s website and which contains zero details regarding whatever incident the person has been convicted of except for the date of the conviction and sentence administered. Common sense should tell you that you are not seeing the whole picture in that scenario. So to go on a public forum, armed with zero credible info and start badmouthing a person who just ended their life suddenly is both inappropriate and cruel. You do this, knowing full well that the deceased person has friends, relatives etc. that are going to be anxiously combing the internet, searching for information about their deceased loved one. More then likely, they are going to come across your poorly researched jibber jabber and your stupid thoughtlessness is going to do nothing but further inflame an already tense situation. Get a life man. You are no expert so shut the hell up. I’m just saying.
Really though, all of the above is just filler to be honest. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if the inmate is Satan’s Son, and really really wants to end his life. The police/jail has taken it upon themselves to take “custody” of the individual. That custody comes with responsibility in my opinion. A responsibility to provide a reasonable standard of care for the person while they are guests of the jail is not too much to ask is it? Some kind of mandatory extra precautionary period for at least the first few days of incarceration is appropriate. Given the myriad number of suicides that have taken place in jails all over the nation, especially in the first 72 hours after arrest, I believe that it should be mandatory. It should be part of the regular routine of adjusting and acclimating oneself to the conditions they are going to have to endure while in custody. If this procedure saves even one persons life, then its worth and is also not too much to ask.
I love my sister and I know many people loved Billy and thats with her flaws and thats with his flaws. We would rather them be alive if it could be at all helped. I think it can. Please encourage this to be more of a priority in the future somehow. Thank you.