DRM > Disability Rights Michigan Statement on the Death of Jonathan Lancaster
Disability Rights Michigan Statement on the Death of Jonathan Lancaster
Disability Rights Michigan (DRM) investigated the 2019 death of Jonathan Lancaster, a 38-year-old man who was incarcerated at the Michigan Department of Corrections’ Alger Correctional Facility.
As the Protection and Advocacy System for the state, DRM is authorized to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect against people with disabilities and the agencies that serve them. DRM initiated an investigation after receiving a report that Jonathan Lancaster, a person who was diagnosed with severe mental illness, died while strapped in a restraint chair following days of isolation. Instead of receiving appropriate mental health supports, he was subjected to abuse and neglect.
“Jonathan Lancaster was not in a state to advocate for himself, or to make meaningful, independent decisions concerning his physical or mental health. No one, regardless of disability or any other status, deserves to be mistreated in such an inhumane and preventable matter. Those who were entrusted with his care failed him, repeatedly,” said Michelle Roberts DRM Executive Director. “DRM supports the criminal charges against the staff in Mr. Lancaster’s death and would encourage further accountability in our State’s prison system by requiring and funding body-worn cameras for all correctional officers in the Michigan Department of Corrections.”