Jail Suicides

St. Clair County Jail suicides

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center represents the estates of two men who committed suicide while held in the St. Clair County Jail at Belleville, Illinois, in 2014. Both lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Joshua B. Jurcich — Filed March 3, 2016, Dawn Corbier, as Administrator of the Estate of Joshua B. Jurcich v. St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson alleges St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department officers exposed Joshua B. Jurcich, a man living with mental illness, to filthy, overcrowded living conditions; held him in isolation; beat him; and ignored and laughed at his suicide threats.

Jurcich was booked into the St. Clair County Jail on March 6, 2014, on charges of possession of a controlled substance. Officials immediately placed him in segregation. On March 11, 2014, jail staff beat Jurcich because he refused to return to a segregation cell. Immediately after the beating, jail staff moved Jurcich to a maximum security cell. While housed there, Jurcich actively voiced his intent to commit suicide. Less than eight hours after the beating, jail staff found Jurcich hanging in his cell. Jurcich was transported to the hospital where he died two days later, according to the lawsuit.

Bradley C. Scarpi — Approximately five hours after telling his jailers that he intended to kill himself and being told “whatever, do what you want to do,” Bradley C. Scarpi was found hanging by a bedsheet in the St. Clair County Jail, according to a lawsuit (Dwayne White, as Administrator of the Estate of Bradley C. Scarpi) filed on May 20, 2016.

Scarpi, 33, of Belleville, died at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville on May 23, 2014, less than hour after he was discovered hanging from his cell bars in a jail that - despite several recent suicide attempts and studies showing suicide as the leading cause of deaths in jail – does not have formal policies regarding suicide prevention and does not adequately train its staff in suicide prevention, according to the lawsuit.