In a KTVU news story on March 15, 2021, Man who died by suicide at Santa Rita Jail had been in coronavirus quarantine, RBGG’s Kara Janssen commented on the jail conditions that might have contributed to the recent suicide of Jonas Park. Kara is a member of the RBGG legal team that filed a class action in federal court against Alameda County in December 2018 alleging that prisoners with psychiatric disabilities are being held in isolation in small, filthy cells for 23 to 24 hours per day with little or no treatment, resulting in deaths and terrible suffering. More information on the case here.
According to the story:
“Kara Janssen, an attorney suing the jail over mental health and isolation issues, noted that a half-hour of rec time is not a lot. It is less time than incarcerated people get if they are housed in the restrictive Administrative Separation units. ‘Half an hour is an incredibly low amount of time to be let out of your cell,’ Janssen said on Friday. ‘If you’re depressed or have any history of mental illness, I have no doubt this would contribute to someone killing themselves.’
Janssen said she understands that restrictions must be tight in jail to prevent the spread of the virus, but she also said that a coronavirus quarantine shouldn’t be punitive. There must be a way to give people more recreational time and also adhere to virus safety protocol, she said. Janssen also said that given the fact that Park’s brother recently died, she would have expected deputies to conduct a thorough intake when Park was booked and then send a mental health counselor in to check on him while in quarantine. If either of those things occurred, neither were reflected in the incident report.”