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Inmate deaths were preventable

Rick Anderson of Seattle Weekly examined King County's internal jail records to show that deceptive administrative tactics hid a spike in local jail deaths this year, including what turned out to be two preventable suicides. Record requests showed that among the 13 deaths in a 27-month period were that of a man who died from flesh-eating disease and another who had a wad of gauze shoved down his throat; both deaths were ruled "natural." Jail guards and nurses revealed that officials were covering up deaths and poor health care at 1,700-bed King County Jail. A woman who committed suicide the day she was arrested had hanged herself on an easily-accessible six-foot TV power cord in a holding cell. Another inmate, who had once asked a court to kill him rather than sentence him to life — and who had once tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide by hoarding his jail antidepressants — succeeded the second time after again hoarding his pills. "To some jail health workers and custody officers, these critical cases raise more questions about downtown jail operations.">"

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