This is the second suicide out of ASPC-Florence Central in one week: Word there is that Rosario, the new prisoner who hung himself last Friday, had just been turned down for protective custody that day. I know of another kid who tried to do himself in to avoid going back into general population. I think the gangs are getting some mileage out of Shannon Palmer's murder.
Our condolences to Duron's mom, Saundra Cunningham, and the rest of his family. By their report, he has a history of depression, and had been both sexually and physically assaulted since being incarcerated just a few months earlier; they think he was seeking protective custody at the time that he killed himself. The discovery process for the lawsuit they file should tell us a lot about how the ADC really deals with prison rape, and if they actually counsel affected prisoners after the suicide of a peer (they provide the COs with critical incident debriefing by a specially-trained team).
If any of you haven't written to the Department of Justice by now, this would be a good time. We're up to 17 dead in 15 months now; that should be enough to get them started. Just print this up, write CRIPA across the top, and mail it. Be sure to emphasize your concern that you see a "pattern and practice of neglect" of prisoners' mental health needs. Their address is:
US DOJ _ Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Patrick Henry Building
Washington DC, 20530
1601 W. JEFFERSON
PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85007
JANICE K. BREWER, GOVERNOR
CHARLES L. RYAN, DIRECTOR
For more information contact:
Sept. 30, 2010
Inmate Death Notification
Florence, Az- Inmate Duron Cunningham, ADC#245305, died while in Arizona Department of Corrections custody Thursday after apparently committing suicide.
Cunningham, 40, came to ADC on Aug. 17, 2009, after convictions from Maricopa County for dangerous drug violation and kidnapping. He was serving five years and housed at the Central Unit of ASPC-Florence.
The death is under investigation by the Department.