A privately run prison in Delaware County is paying out $7 million to settle a suit over an inmate who took her own life in 2015.
After she was held in solitary confinement for more than 50 days at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Janene Wallace killed herself.
David Inscho, attorney for the Wallace family, said the guards could have prevented her death.
“The guard on duty told her she was a dirty bitch, said she could not respect her and told her to kill herself,” Inscho said. “Janene called out from her cell that she was going to choke herself, and the guard told her to go ahead and choke herself.”
The guard went to lunch and returned to find Wallace dead.
Wallace’s mother, Susanne, said the settlement includes changes to prison policy.
“Nothing will bring back Janene, but we don’t want any other family to go through what we went through,” she said.
Inscho said the settlement also provides for increased review of prisoners at the facility who have mental illnesses.
“Inmates with serious mental illness will not be housed in restrictive housing units based on the symptoms related to their mental illness as Janene was,” he said. “For those inmates with mental illness who wind up in restrictive housing for other security reasons, they will be evaluated within 24 hours by an appropriate psychiatrist or psychologist.”
The company that runs the prison, the GEO Group, acquired the contract after Wallace’s death, but did not want to comment on the matter.