Spike in suicides hits another county jail

Two county jails have had at least six in-custody suicides each in the past three years.

An inmate at the Atlantic County Jail committed suicide earlier this month.

According to an Open Public Records request obtained by NJ Advance Media, an inmate committed suicide in the Hamilton Township facility Oct. 15. 

It was the first suicide in the jail since July 2017, and the sixth that has occurred in the jail since 2015. Three of the inmates were identified as Ashley Gladney, Troy Bowser, and Laura Semprevivo. Relatives of the three have each filed lawsuits against the county. 

The Atlantic County Jail joins the Cumberland County Jail in having a period in which six inmates committed suicide while incarcerated in the facility. The last suicide at the Cumberland County jail happened May 2017. 

Conrad J. Benedetto of The Law Offices of Conrad J. Benedetto represents Semprevivo’s family in the lawsuit against Atlantic County, as well as families of inmates who committed suicide in Cumberland County.

“Based on the number of inmates that have died over the past few years while incarcerated in county jails up and down the state of New Jersey, we think there is a public health crisis in the state. It seems that many counties apparently lack the ability to, or interest in, tending to the mental health needs of some of its own citizens,” Benedetto said. “Unfortunately, we are not surprised by news of another inmate death at a New Jersey county jail. We are hopeful that the many lawsuits we and other law firms have brought against New Jersey counties regarding these inmate deaths will help shine a spotlight on this crisis and put an end to it.”

NJ Advance Media reached out to Atlantic County for comment about the situation and any measures the jail is doing to prevent suicides in the wake of the reported incident. However, our request for comment was not returned. 

Chris Franklin can be reached at cfranklin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips



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