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Man Commits Suicide in the Washington County, Texas Jail – Texas Rangers Investigate

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Inside The Old Idaho State Penitentiary

The Washington County, Texas sheriff’s department recently filed a custodial death report with Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, regarding the death of Cameron James Pritchett.  Mr. Pritchett was only 31 years of age at the time of his death.  Information in this post was obtained from that report, and we make no allegation of any wrongdoing against anyone.  Instead, we are simply providing factual information and information regarding claims for occurrences similar to those that unfortunately happened to Mr. Pritchett.

Mr. Pritchett was originally incarcerated in the Washington County, Texas jail on March 3, 2019 at approximately 4:11 p.m.  The report is not very informative as to times of occurrences, but it does list Mr. Pritchett’s death as occurring at 3:34 p.m.  on March 6, 2019. Mr. Pritchett was incarcerated in a jail located at 1206 Old Independence Road in Brenham, Texas.  He was allegedly arrested for a theft warrant out of Travis County.

The report indicates that a Washington County jailer, while making his rounds, found Mr. Pritchett in a single-person cell hanging from a bed sheet which had apparently been tied off to something.  The jailer called for assistance and cut the sheet.  The jailer started CPR and continued to do so until Washington County, Texas EMS arrived.  Mr. Pritchett was transported to Scott and White Hospital in Brenham, Texas, where he was pronounced deceased. 

The report indicates that Mr. Pritchett did not exhibit any mental health problems and did not make any suicidal statements.  The Texas Commission on Jail Standards, which is the Texas agency which governs county jails in Texas, mandates that county jails complete, for every prisoner, at the time of intake, a form entitled “Screening Form for Suicide and Medical/Mental/Developmental Impairments.”  A link to that form is here –

As can be seen on the form, there are a number of questions designed to determine whether a prisoner is likely to harm himself or someone else.  Further, if certain questions are answered in a certain manner, a county jail has an obligation to notify a magistrate judge.  Presumably, the screening form would have been completed for Mr. Pritchett. 

Our Texas law firm has and/or is handling a number of unfortunate jail suicide cases.  The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides protection to pretrial detainees, such as Mr. Pritchett, who have not been convicted of anything.  That amendment provides that jailers, counties, and cities in Texas, when incarcerating a person, must provide reasonable medical care and/or mental healthcare to the person.  Further, if jailers are deliberately indifferent to the mental healthcare needs of a prisoner, and/or a city or county has a policy, practice, or custom which is a moving force behind constitutional violations, then the jailers and/or counties/cities could be liable for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Suicide claims and denial of medical care claims in Texas are typically filed in federal court, and the statute that is usually asserted is 42 U.S.C § 1983. We expect that the Texas Rangers will investigate Mr. Pritchett’s death.

Written By: author image Dean Malone
author image Dean Malone
Dean Malone is the founder of Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a jail neglect civil rights law firm. Mr. Malone earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Dallas, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, and from Baylor University School of Law with a general civil litigation concentration. Mr. Malone served in several staff positions for the Baylor Law Review, including executive editor. Mr. Malone is an experienced trial lawyer, trying a number of cases to jury verdict and also handling arbitrations through final hearing. He heads the jail neglect section of his law firm, in which lawyers litigate cases involving serious injury and death resulting from jail neglect and abuse. Lawyers frequently refer cases to Mr. Malone due to his focus on this very complicated civil rights practice area.