Settlement of $1.6M in Los Angeles Men's Central Jail Suicide Suit

On September 1, Los Angeles County approved a $1.6M settlement to be paid to the family of Austin Losorelli, 23, who committed suicide in the Men's Central Jail in 2013. Despite their awareness of his history of mental illness and attempted suicide, jail mental health workers and other staff repeatedly failed to place him in appropriate mental health housing; he was instead placed in a single-man cell, where he hung himself. His suicide was one of 10 at the jail in 2013 alone.

According to the Losorelli family's attorney, NPAP member Ron Kaye, Austin Losorelli's death was the result of "a perfect storm of deliberate indifference and malfeasance by the Department of Mental Health and the Sheriff's Department."

The settlement follows the establishment of a court-enforceable agreement between the jail and the U.S. Department of Justice, who had already noted a marked increase in preventable suicides at the jail in a June 2014 report. According to a press release, the Department's "long-standing civil investigation into mental health care at the jails ... found a pattern of constitutionally deficient mental health care for prisoners, including inadequate suicide prevention practices," conditions worsened by the prevalent use of excessive force by jail staff. Accordingly, the agreement includes stipulations concerning the provision of adequate mental health care at the jail, the reduction of suicide hazards, and the reform of use-of-force policies.