Lawsuit claims in Luzerne County Correctional Facility failed to train officers in suicide prevention because they did not want to be trained. The result was several preventable deaths.
The Luzerne County Correctional Facility is seen in a file photo. According to a lawsuit filed early last month, the family of Hailey Povisil claims she was told by a corrections officer to kill herself. Only eight hours later, she was found dead, hanging in her cell on Jan. 9, 2018. Times Leader file photo

The family of an inmate that died, Hailey Povisil who was incarcerated for failure to appear, in Luzerne County Correctional Facility filed a lawsuit claiming an officer told her to kill herself just eight hours before she was found hanging in her cell. She was the fourth inmate to die in the facility in 2018.

Attorney Barry H. Dyller, of the Wilkes-Barre law firm Dyller & Solomon, and the administrators of Hailey’s estate, Sarah Schiavone and Mickayla Meredick filed a lawsuit against Luzerne County in  September claiming years of misconduct. The lawsuit names Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Correct Care Solutions, and Wellpath as defendents that are are supposed to provide medical services in the facility.

“Upon information and belief, given the multiple female LCCF inmates who committed suicide in 2017 and 2018, LCCF either did not implement recommendations by the suicide prevention consultant, or over time became lax in anti-suicide training and protocols.”

The prison has not provided suicide prevention training since 2003, and prison officials refused require officers to train in 2016 because officers “were not receptive to training”. The lawsuit states, “Luzerne County thus made a deliberate choice not to waste money on a comprehensive suicide prevention guide and training program because LCCF’s officers do not like training”.

Family members say that Hailey was a heroin addict and that she was suffering from withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting and other horrific symptoms of heroin misuse along with other symptoms and comorbidities. She was also diagnosed with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression.

“CCS’s and Luzerne County’s records reveal that they knew that Ms. Povisil had been hospitalized for her mental illnesses at least five times in the previous six to seven years. Those same records reveal that they knew that Ms. Povisil had been contemplating suicide less than a year prior to her Jan. 6, 2018, incarceration.”

Hailey was placed on suicide watch when she was first incarcerated, which means that she was held in solitary confinement which everyone knows makes all mental disorders even worse and even creates mental disabilities where there were none before. The lawsuit claims that Hailey was begging for help and that no one from the facility would help her.

It is unclear how long officers held Hailey in uninhabitable conditions before allowing her out of the isolated cell. The lawsuit states that she killed herself within eight hours of getting out of solitary confinement. (Bless her heart, if only she had been treated like a human being and offered treatment)

“Upon information and belief, Luzerne County correctional officer defendant … chose not to help Ms. Povisil, and not to contact a medical or psychiatric professional to help Ms. Povisil. Instead, a corrections officer responded to Ms. Povisil by stating, ‘F— you b—, go ahead and kill yourself.'”

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