Jean Jimenez-Joseph, a Panamanian national, had a history of suicide attempts, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was prescribed medication for it and had been institutionalized prior to hanging himself at the Stewart Detention Center in South Georgia. His family’s attorney said the authorities at Stewart should have known about those troubles. Nicole Marie Austin/CONTRIBUTED.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ICE detainee who hanged himself had history of mental health problems

The Panamanian national who hanged himself in an immigration detention center in South Georgia in May had a history of suicide attempts and had been institutionalized before the federal government took custody of him and placed him in solitary confinement for 19 days, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Authorities at the privately run Stewart Detention Center should have known about Jean Jimenez-Joseph’s history and his battles with schizophrenia because he had previously been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility by Wake County, N.C., authorities, said his family’s attorney. Those county authorities participate in a federal immigration enforcement program called 287(g). 

The Wake Sheriff’s Office declined to comment, saying Jimenez’s medical records are not public. A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said his agency is investigating Jimenez’s death and whether officials at Stewart knew about his medical history.

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