1A Remaking America: What's Being Done About The Rise In Jail Deaths? Throughout this episode, we discuss suicide which may be distressing to some listeners and may not be suitable for young listeners. If you or anyone you know needs to talk to someone, you can call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Millions of people enter jail in the U.S. every year. Carceral centers have become a revolving door for those with mental health issues or substance-abuse disorders.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that inmates are entitled to life-saving medical care, but that isn't quite guaranteed.

Jail deaths rose 11 percent since 2000 when the U.S. Department of Justice began tallying these deaths. Suicides are the leading cause of jail deaths. Fatal drug overdoses are the fastest growing cause of death.

We look at why jail can be so harmful. And we talk about what mental health and substance abuse resources are available to inmates.

This show is part of 1A's "Remaking America" project. We begin the program by looking at a string of recent jail deaths in Louisville, Kentucky, with help from our partner station WFPL.

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1A Remaking America: What's Being Done About The Rise In Jail Deaths?

1A Remaking America: What's Being Done About The Rise In Jail Deaths?

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Family members, activists and others hold a rally outside of City Hall to demand that the administration of Mayor Eric Adams do more to address the crisis in living conditions at the Rikers Island Jail in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Family members, activists and others hold a rally outside of City Hall to demand that the administration of Mayor Eric Adams do more to address the crisis in living conditions at the Rikers Island Jail in New York City.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Throughout this episode, we discuss suicide which may be distressing to some listeners and may not be suitable for young listeners. If you or anyone you know needs to talk to someone, you can call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Millions of people enter jail in the U.S. every year. They've become a revolving door for those with mental health issues or substance-abuse disorders.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that inmates are entitled to life-saving medical care, but that isn't quite guaranteed.

"The jailers don't recognize that jails are, in fact, de facto the largest drug detoxification centers in the country, the largest mental illness facilities in the country. And so these jails require a level of treatment that's just totally missing," said Andrew Klein who wrote "Death before Sentencing: Ending Rampant Suicide, Overdoses, Brutality, and Malpractice in America's Jails." "The result is a totally unacceptable death rate across the country in the nation's jails."

Jail deaths rose 11 percent since 2000 when the U.S. Department of Justice began tallying these deaths. Suicides are the leading cause of jail deaths. Fatal drug overdoses are the fastest growing cause of death.

Maggie Luna spent time in and out of jails in Texas. She was left feeling despondent when she asked for help with her mental health and addiction to opioids.

"[Staff] feel a need that it's their job to perpetuate punishment... instead of looking at it as a place where you are there to help this person become better," Luna said.

What makes jails so harmful? What mental health and substance abuse resources are available to inmates?

This show is part of 1A's "Remaking America" project. We begin the program by looking at a string of recent jail deaths in Louisville, Kentucky, with help from our partner station WFPL.

WFPL's Roberto Roldan, Louisville Department of Corrections' Jerry Collins, The Marshall Project's Beth Schwartzapfel psychologist and Chicago Beyond's Nneka Jones Tapia and D-Degree Coaching and Training's Doug Smith join our panel.

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