The Michigan Department of Corrections must pay Janika Edmond’s family $860K for their inaction after she told prison officials she was suicidal.
Edmond died in 2015 after she used her bra to hang herself in one of the showers at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility near Ypsilanti, reports The Detroit Free Press. Before she took her life, Edmond requested a suicide prevention vest but she never received assistance.
Instead, according to security camera footage, Diana Callahan, one of the guards, declared "somebody owes me lunch!"
Apparently, the guards made a bet on whether or not Edmond would ask for the item. The 25-year-old had a history of mental illness and suicidal ideation. Additionally, the tapes show the guards ignored audible choking noises despite Edmond’s history. After Edmond died, the corrections department broke protocol when they did not tell the Michigan State Police about the death.
Callahan was sentenced to six months in prison and two years of probation in December 2018 for involuntary manslaughter. A family member called it a “slap on the wrist.” Moore and prison counselor Kory Moore lost their jobs after Edmond died but the latter was eventually reinstated.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland approved $860K in restitution on Tuesday, reports MLive. Edmond’s two adult brothers will split $549,509.84 and the rest will be used to pay legal fees.
Still, the family is reeling from the loss.
“No amount of money, obviously, can ever make up for the loss of a loved one,” said family attorney David Steingold.
The MDOC has not commented on the settlement.