Death Behind Bars

An epidemic of suicide in Mississippi jails -- or was it murder?

JAILS ARE PLACES OF DANGER AND DESPAIR, AND EVEN prisoners with short $ sentences do not always get out alive. Yet that hardly explains a strange string of deaths in Mississippi. During the past six years, 47 men, 24 of them black, have left local jails in body bags. In all but one case, authorities said the men had hanged themselves in their cells. (One 28-year-old man's death was said to have been caused by a heart attack.) After listening to testimony last week from relatives of some of these prisoners, Bobby Doctor, the interim chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights...

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