Target: Mark Herring, Virginia Attorney General
Goal: Justice for mentally ill man starved to death in prison.
Last August, 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell was discovered dead in his cell at Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia. The alleged cause of death was starvation. Mitchell’s family also claims that the plumbing in his cell had been turned off, leaving him without drinking water or toilet facilities. He had been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The prison was ordered to transfer Mitchell to Eastern State Hospital. Instead he was left in his cell to die. His crime? Stealing $5.05 worth of snacks from 7-Eleven.
Demand that the prison officials be held accountable and that the Virginia attorney general investigate their misconduct. Leaving Mitchell in jail without bail is a clear violation of the judge’s order that he be transferred to a mental health facility. At the time of his death, he wasn’t even on the waiting list for the facility. Prisoners are protected by the Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. Starvation is cruel and unusual.
Hampton Roads Regional Jail claims on their website that: “the care, custody and control of the inmates and detainees housed [there] is priority #1.” They also maintain that every inmate has access to medical services and a daily activity schedule. If this were the case, then someone should have noticed and prevented Mitchell’s deterioration. To prevent this tragedy from reoccurring, the prison must be held to the same standards it proclaims on its website.
The treatment of Jamycheal Mitchell was both inhumane and illegal. Insist that the attorney general investigate this appalling situation and secure justice for Mitchell.
Dear Attorney General Herring,
The prison officials responsible for Jamycheal Mitchell’s death must be investigated. Mitchell was allegedly left to starve in his cell at Hampton Road’s Regional Jail, VA. A judge had previously ordered that Mitchell be transferred to a mental health facility, but instead he remained in jail without bail until his death.
The jail’s actions towards Mitchell were illegal. The Eighth Amendment protects inmates against cruel and unusual punishment. If starvation isn’t cruel and unusual punishment, I don’t know what is. His family also states that he had no drinking water or toilet facilities. The jail claims that inmates have access to medical services and a daily activity schedule. If this were true, then Mitchell would not have died neglected in his cell.
You say on your website that you were raised by a single mother who taught you that if you see a problem you need to fix it. This is a problem that needs fixing. Mitchell and his family deserve justice for the callous treatment they received at the hands of Virginia’s prison system. As attorney general, it is your responsibility to see that they get it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kyle and Kelly Adams