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Lawsuits Filed Against IDOC, Gov. Rauner, Sangamon County Jail After Incarcerated Woman Commits Suicide

Lawyers for a woman who committed suicide in March of 2017 at the Sangamon County jail filed two lawsuits on behalf of the victim’s mother on Monday. Tiffany Rusher, who began a five-year sentence at Logan Correctional Center in 2013, was put in solitary confinement at the prison and suffered serious mental health deterioration. She was eventually put on “crisis watch,” which entails stripping a patient of all clothing and belongings, and putting them in a completely bare cell with only a “suicide smock” (a single piece of thick woven nylon, too stiff to fold, with holes for head and arms), at the facility for 8 months, rather than being sent to a state mental health facility. After Rusher was finally transferred to one where her condition improved after receiving treatment, she was accused of fighting and sent to the Sangamon County jail, where she was put in solitary confinement for three months. Rusher was found unresponsive in her cell with a ripped piece of towel around her neck, and died 12 days later after the hospital removed life support. “In prison, Tiffany was tortured—kept in solitary for months on end, and denied the mental health treatment she needed. In Sangamon County jail, they put her right back in solitary, again without providing the treatment she needed,” said Alan Mills of the Uptown People’s Law Center, one of several lawyers representing Rusher’s estate. “First they tortured her, then they killed her.”

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