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KARE 11 Investigates: Cruel and Unusual

Preventable deaths, botched investigations, falsified records and a suicide crisis. A KARE 11 investigation exposes suspicious pattern of inmate deaths.
Credit: KARE 11
KARE 11's ongoing investigation

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers are working with the Department of Corrections to draft new legislation to reform how jail deaths are investigated and to strengthen enforcement of medical standards in jails across the state.

The action comes in the wake of a series of KARE 11 investigative reports revealing a suspicious pattern of deaths in Minnesota jails.

Our investigation exposed how the state has turned a blind eye to poor – and at times nonexistent – medical care for sick inmates.

Among the findings:

  • Jail inmates needlessly dying while denied constitutionally mandated medical and mental health care.
  • A suspicious pattern of inmate deaths under the care of the same jail doctor with history of discipline for unethical behavior.
  • National guidelines for investigating and preventing jail deaths being ignored.
  • The percentage of deaths by suicide in Minnesota jails is twice the national average.
  • Botched state investigations and toothless enforcement contributing to additional jail deaths.
  • Falsified jail records – including guards reporting inmate safety checks that were never done.
  • Minnesota counties have paid out more than $11 million after lawsuits accusing jails of failing to properly care for inmates. And taxpayers may soon be on the hook for a lot more.

“There is a clear need for reform,” said Minnesota Senator Charles Wiger (DFL – Maplewood).


Read Additional Reporting:

RELATED: KARE 11 investigates: Records reveal multiple failures to prevent inmate’s death

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: 50 deaths in MN jails to be investigated by state

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Message from the grave reveals another needless jail death

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Shoplifting arrest becomes death sentence for MN teenager

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Minnesota fails national jail death standards

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Minnesota jail failures costing taxpayers millions

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: 'Unethical' record of Minnesota’s largest jail health care provider

If you have a suggestion for an investigation, or want to blow the whistle on government fraud, waste, or corruption, email us at: investigations@kare11.com.

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