The new form of prison torture: Terrill Thomas was deprived of drinking water for several days.
An autopsy has revealed that the mentally ill Black man, who died in Milwaukee prison was the victim of prison torture. 38-year-old Terrill Thomas died from excessive dehydration. This report seems to align itself with the testimony of the other inmates, who said they heard him pleading to the officers for drinking water some days before his demise.
Thomas was arrested and sent to jail after he was suspected to have been involved in two shooting incidents which occurred on April 14. It is reported that he had shot a friend in the chest for attempting to steal his car and also fired gunshots at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino. In the investigators’ report, Thomas claimed that there were snakes at the casino and that warranted his action.
According to his family, the 38-year-old Black man had a mental condition known as bipolar disorder and this made him behave abnormally at certain times.
Thomas was scheduled for a medical evaluation on the 27th of April to ascertain whether he would have been medically fit to stand trial but, unfortunately, he was found dead in his solitary cell on the 24th of April. His death has since been ruled as a homicide.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Police Department has refused to make any comment on the case until the investigations are over.
According to an inmate named Marcus Berry, Thomas’ water tap was shut down because he had flooded his cell on a previous occasion, the Journal Sentinel newspaper reports. “I could tell he was getting weaker. One day he just lay down, dehydrated and hungry,” Berry said.
Meanwhile, Thomas’ dad, TJ Thomas said he is planning to file a lawsuit against the state. In his interview with the WISN T.V station, he said, “I’m saying he shouldn’t have ever been there in the first place. He should have been out at the mental complex getting treatment.”
But what was obvious to other inmates was not at all visible to the executioners in uniform. As a result of their criminal negligence Thomas faced a terrible death.
The way mentally ill inmates are handled in the U.S prisons has been an issue of great concern. Neither police nor correctional officers receive special training on how to deal with people having mental health issues. As a result, for such inmates, staying behind bars becomes a form of torture. And those that suffer the most from such things are the Black people. It is just unfair and inhumane to subject a medically unfit person to further harsh treatment. Black and mentally ill people fall into a specially vulnerable category, for them just being arrested may mean a death sentence, no matter what sentence the judge will choose.