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Correctional Facility Has Black Mold, Reprimanded for Inmate Suicide

— June 6, 2019

Guard bets a Subway sandwich that an inmate would take her life, and she did. The same facility has an overgrowth of black mold.

The Michigan Department of Corrections has settled a lawsuit for $860,000 stemming from the 2015 suicide of inmate, Janika Edmond, 25, who took her life after Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility guards placed a bet on whether she would.  Prior to taking a shower, Edmond had asked officers for a suicide prevention vest, which reduces a person’s ability to harm themselves.  However, her request was ignored, and The Department of Corrections also “failed to promptly report Edmond’s suicide to Michigan State Police, as required.”

Records show that Edmond told corrections officer Dianna Callahan, 49 of Flint, she “intended to kill herself,” which prompted Callahan to “pump her fist 3 times” and yell, “Somebody owes me lunch!”  Court documents allege the reaction of the guard at the facility was in response to a bet she wagered with others.  She said Edmond would threaten to take her life and bet the guards a Subway sandwich.

Edmond had a history of mental illness and incidents in which she said she would commit suicide in the past.  Just a few minutes later, “officers didn’t immediately respond to audible choking sounds as Edmond harmed herself in the prison shower.”  The inmate died a nearby hospital a few days later.

Correctional Facility Has Black Mold, Reprimanded for Inmate Suicide
Photo by Denis Oliveira on Unsplash

The $860,000 settlement will be used to cover legal fees incurred by Edmond’s family in the wrongful death case.  Two of Edmond’s half-brothers will also receive $275,000 each.  Edmond’s birth parents were excluded because both lost their parental rights before Edmond was sent to Women’s Huron Valley, near Ypsilanti, in 2013.

Callahan and the other employee who took the bet, Kory Moore, were terminated.  Yet, Moore was reinstated after arbitration, although she later left voluntarily.  Callahan pleaded no contest in October to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six months behind bars.

Former inmate Machelle Pearson, recently spoke out about unsanitary conditions at the same facility.  She had what appeared to be a rash on her legs.  Upon showing a primary care doctor, the physician told her it was a result of coming into contact with black mold.

“It literally got on my skin and my clothes that I was wearing,” Pearson said, adding that it left permanent marks.  “It scarred me.”

The former inmate revealed further, “Like in the shower areas, you have tile ceiling, and like, in the corner of the ceiling, the whole ceiling was ate away.  It was just nothing but black in a black hole.  When you take a shower, you had to take this squeegee and squeegee the ceiling.  But the water would drip on your clothes, and while you’re bathing, it was dripping on us.  They quarantined us and said we had scabies.  But then they said it wasn’t.  They treated us with two doses of, um, a dewormer.  It’s some kind of pills they treat scabies with, but they made us take the medicine, kept us on quarantine for like three or four days, I think, it was.”

After that experience, Pearson said they noticed the scars on her legs, but never took her out to get her treated.  Instead, she was given creams that were ineffective and the itching she experienced did not go away until she got home.  She is still dealing with her toenails decaying as her body continues to heal from the inside out.


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Michigan to pay $860K to settle lawsuit over suicide at women’s prison

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