jail deaths

Sarah Eden Wallace

On Feb. 26, 2014, staff booked Shannon Jefferson into the Whatcom County Jail for a probation violation and failing to appear in court on a fourth degree assault charge.

Twelve days later, Jefferson tied a bed sheet to the window in her isolation cell and hanged herself. She was 36-years-old and the mother of six.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The practice of locking up people who are chronically sick, mentally ill or drug addicted in under-resourced city, county and regional jails in Washington is resulting in inmate deaths and a failure to “treat all people humanely, respectfully, and safely,” according to a new report by the statewide nonprofit law firm Columbia Legal Services.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Four years ago this month, 25-year-old Keaton Farris died naked, dehydrated and malnourished on the floor of an isolation cell in the Island County Jail on Whidbey Island. Farris, who was bipolar and in the throes of a mental health crisis, had been arrested 18 days earlier for failing to appear in court for allegedly stealing and cashing a $355 check.