On January 22, 2017, Andrew Holland, an inmate being held in the San Luis Obispo County Jail in California, died from a pulmonary embolism that is believed to have stemmed from being securely confined, while naked, in a restraint chair for nearly 46 hours.

The 36-year-old man had been booked into the jail in September 2015 for battery, resisting an officer, and a probation violation. Holland had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which was likely a contributing factor to his arrest, incarceration and subsequent placement in the jail’s restraint chair.

In response to their son’s death, Holland’s parents filed a suit against the county and in July 2017, the Holland family was awarded a $5 million settlement.

It is not my intention to cast blame on who’s responsible for Holland’s death, but rather how this case illustrates the ongoing challenges correctional institutions face dealing with large numbers of mentally ill offenders. Correctional facilities do not have the proper staffing, training, healthcare programs, funding, or general resources to adequately deal with and treat the growing population of mentally ill inmates.

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What Andrew Holland's Death Reveals About Caring for Mentally Ill Inmates

Michael Pittaro
In Public Safety
March 29, 2018