Inmate dies while waiting for transfer to get mental health care

Mentally ill man dies in prison cell while waiting for transfer to get mental health care (Photo: Courtesy Hall family)

(KUTV) — Help is coming for inmates with mental health issues; but the family of one Ogden man says didn't help didn't come soon enough

Matthew Hall died one week ago, after succumbing to injuries he sustained while on suicide watch at the Weber County Jail, while waiting to be transferred to the state mental hospital.

"He struggled with some issues, but I don't think he deserved this," Matthew's brother Nathan Hall said.

Matthew Hall had multiple run-ins with police, but Nathan Hall felt he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and shouldn't have been kept alone in a jail cell.

Hall had a long rap sheet with multiple arrests for charges ranging from drug possession, theft, to assault on a police officer and resisting arrest — among others. But he was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial last year, and was waiting to be transferred to the state hospital.

It was late February when he rammed his head into the wall of his jail cell three times and then climbed on top of his sink and jumped, breaking his neck. He died in the hospital six weeks later.

"It is jarring, to say the least, to see somebody who is incredibly mentally ill just left in a room," said attorney Nick Daskalis from Disability Law Center. "We have others who are waiting for competency restoration services."

He told 2News the Center filed a class-action lawsuit in 2015 that would have helped Mathew Hall.

The state legislature set aside $3 million for the settlement. Advocates say the money will go to set up an offsite facility, separate from the state hospital, to help offer mental health services to those in need.

Daskalis believes this should give families of those in situations similar to Matthew Hall's hope.

"We are working to provide those services and are making progress. We are optimistic."

Nathan Hall said he hopes that will help others. Meantime, his family is planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Matthew Hall's funeral is set for Saturday in Ogden.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help his family pay for his funeral expenses.

2News reached out, but was unable to obtain any comment from the Weber County Jail.

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