Baltimore County sued over 2013 suicide of in­mate

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Ali­son Kneze­vich Baltimore Sun re­porter Pamela Wood con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. al­isonk@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/aliknez

The parents of a woman who com­mit­ted suicide at the Baltimore County De­ten­tion Cen­ter in 2013 are su­ing the county, al­leg­ing jail em­ploy­ees failed to pro­vide her nec­es­sary men­tal health treat­ment.

In a law­suit filed last week in U.S. District Court, Deb­o­rah and Ed­ward Gelin of Owings Mills say their daugh­ter, Ash­leigh, hanged herself in her cell “within hours of re­port­ing to a men­tal health spe­cial­ist that she was cry­ing, scream­ing and hear­ing voices.” The Gelins said Ash­leigh suf­fered from bipo­lar dis­or­der.

Ellen Kobler, a spokes­woman for the county, de­clined to com­ment be­cause the lit­i­ga­tion is pend­ing.

Ash­leigh Gelin, 27, was ad­mit­ted to the jail Nov. 4, 2013, to serve a one-year sen­tence on a theft-scheme charge, her parents say in the law­suit. She took her life 10 days later while alone in an un­mon­i­tored cell, they say.

They say Gelin was re­ferred to be seen by psy­chi­atric staff af­ter she ar­rived at the jail. Un­der county cor­rec­tions reg­u­la­tions, she should have been seen by men­tal health staff within 72 hours but was not, they al­lege.

When Gelin hanged herself, they say, other in­mates in her unit “con­tin­u­ously screamed while bang­ing on the cell walls,” but no staffers re­sponded — and “no in­mate checks or watch tour rounds oc­curred within the two hours prior to Ms. Gelin be­ing dis­cov­ered.”

Gelin never re­ceived med­i­ca­tion to treat her bipo­lar dis­or­der while in­car­cer­ated, her parents say.

They are seek­ing $15 mil­lion in dam­ages.

The law­suit names county Sher­iff Jay Fisher and about a dozen jail em­ploy­ees as de­fen­dants.

The jail is ad­min­is­tered by the county’s De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions.

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