Family of jail inmate who died by suicide files federal lawsuit

Vincent Dewayne Young went into the Harris County Jail and never came out.

"We lost a major part of our family. He was a father. He was a brother. He was a son and he left a lot of people mourning behind him," said his widow, Kamaletha Wynn.

Now, some of those people are suing the Harris County Sheriff's Office. According to the lawsuit, the jail staff failed to adequately supervise him after he told them he was suicidal. Young hung himself with a blanket in a cell in the infirmary.

"The Harris County Jail failed Young when he needed some simple things done. One was to do proper rounds. One was to put him in a proper cell and one was to give him proper medical care," said attorney Randall Kallinen.

After his suicide two years ago, the sheriff did make some operational changes and fired the deputy responsible. The sheriff also created a Bureau of Mental Health and Jail Diversion and started a new mental health training program for jail staff. But Young's family says those things should’ve been done before young killed himself, not after.

"That's a human life. You are responsible for a human life. That's your job at that moment. Nothing should be more important. Nothing," said Wynn.

Young was waiting for his family to post bail so he could be released.

An independent study showed the Harris County Jail’s inmate suicide rate is one-third of the national average.