Another Man Dies of Neglect in Jail Cell. His Crime? Stealing a Snickers Bar.

Another unintentional death sentence.



A Portsmouth, Virginia 24-year-old died in his jail cell while waiting for months for a transfer to a mental health facility. The man, Jamycheal Mitchell, suffered from schizophrenia. He shed 36 pounds during his April-to-August incarceration, eventually succumbing to an as-of-yet-undisclosed combination of untreated medical issues, and neglect.

What was it that landed him in jail in the first place? He stole $5 worth of goods from a 7-Eleven: a Mountain Dew, a Zebra Cake, and a Snickers bar.

The Washington Post highlighted Mitchell's tragic death in a recent article:

After the 24-year-old's arrest, a judge ordered him to a state psychiatric hospital to get help. But like an increasing number of the mentally ill, he sat in jail for months as he waited for a bed to open.

Other inmates said Mitchell paced naked in a cell often covered in his own filth. Family members said they were told he sometimes refused to eat or take medication, and jail records show he manically yelled. He grew gaunt, and by Aug. 19 he was dead, having shed at least 36 pounds.

A state medical examiner has yet to report a cause of death, and police are investigating Mitchell's case, but his family and civil rights and mental health advocates are outraged that he was allowed to waste away over a $5 misdemeanor. Jail officials denied any wrongdoing, saying Mitchell was fed regularly and was seen by a nurse.

The full article is well worth reading. Mitchell's case reminds me of a story I wrote about last week—the slow, painful death of David Stojcevski, who was jailed in Macomb County, Michigan, for failing to pay traffic fines. Like Mitchell, Stojcevski was placed in a cell for mentally disturbed inmates. Unlike Mitchell, Stojcevski was misdiagnosed as unstable when he should have been treated for drug withdrawal. But both men were imprisoned over very minor crimes and died because they didn't get the medical treatment they desperately needed. They expired slowly, over the course of many days, as jail staff did nothing.

On Tuesday, the FBI announced that it would review Stojcevski's death. His family is suing Macomb County.

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  1. Let’s be clear. This man was not in jail for stealing a Snickers bar. He was in jail because a judge ordered him to undergo psychiatric treatment, which the state was unable to provide.

    1. Well, he was in jail because the money factory justice system wants to process and extract revenue fines from people caught for even the most trivial of offences, and of course that the ultimate result of breaking the law can be death, no matter what the offence is.

      1. What’s sad is that I’ve seen people who call themselves libertarians make the case that minor offenses are worthy of the death penalty.

        1. I am not a libertarian, but I would certainly argue that even the smallest infractions can merit the death penalty, particularly when they involve provocative speech or conduct that poses a threat to the tranquility or reputation of others. Those who criticize our nation’s excellent correctional institutions are frequently criminals themselves, as in the case of one individual who has assaulted the decency of judges, prosecutors, jurors and guards alike with an insidiously perverse “account” of the intake process he and other hoodlums experienced at one of New York’s leading holding areas for recalcitrant youths and “satirists,” in some cases very dangerous ones. See the text in question, which should itself be requited with a criminal penalty, at:


      2. Not really. The judge could have just said he was competent and had to pay up/do the time and he would have been done.

        1. And if he couldn’t pay?

          1. I’m not saying that doesn’t lead to a problem. But he wasn’t even given the “opportunity” to do so.

            1. Well, that’s not entirely true. If he had enough money and resources to get a lawyer, this wouldn’t have happened. But that’s part of paying into the system. It’s just another part of the price.

              Ultimately, the grinder wants money. The exceptional sadism comes from the people who gravitate to the job because they can see all the opportunities for sadism that are inherent in the whole system.

    2. It isn’t so much that the state couldn’t provide the treatment, it is that they choose not to. Or, more precisely, choose not to pursue avenues for fulfilling that treatment aggressively enough. I can’t speak for Virginia, but in Pennsylvania, if a judge orders psychiatric treatment there are several ways for the prison system to accommodate that order. Either these options are more limited in Virginia, in which case the state would have been able to provide the mandated treatment if they weren’t standing in their own way, or the officials at the jail took too long working their way through the options.

      Regardless, the blame for his death lies squarely with the state; the details simply shift the proportions of that blame to different parts of it.

  2. With so many people dying, it makes me wonder why anyone goes to jail in the first place. Why not just go to Australia?

    1. Do you know how long a flight to Australia is? That’s a lot of hours to be cooped up in a plane just to be killed as soon as the door opens.

  3. The man didn’t deserve to die. But he also shouldn’t have stolen. Never been able to comprehend the mindset of people who think they’re entitled to take things that don’t belong to them.

    1. In this case we’re talking about a schizophrenic, so I wouldn’t try to comprehend motive.

      1. Ah…most news stories have omitted this tidbit. And I agree that the desire to steal reveals some level of mental illness. But it’s a tragic story that should not have ended this badly.

    2. I can never comprehend the mindset of people who shift blame from the state who mistreated someone onto the guy who got mistreated.

      1. Everyone knows stealing is a crime, and what the penalties are. But that doesn’t apply here since the man was likely mentally ill didn’t know better.

        1. That’s understandable, but you can’t just have crazy people roaming about the country doing whatever they like because they don’t know any better.

          1. Did I suggest we should? But what’s the solution? Should we lock them all up against their will even if they haven’t done anything yet? Who decides if they’re actually mentally ill, or just odd and harmless? When is it safe to let them out, if ever? This could bring up a host of important issues but most people will only focus on the fact that another Black man died in custody from police negligence. As usual, nothing will change.

            1. And that’s the problem, isn’t it? What do you do with people like this? I don’t profess to be the one with all the answers, but I can see the problem.

              1. I don’t think you have to “do” anything, it’s a problem where there is no state offered solution that doesn’t cause far more problems than it solves.

                1. Like most everything.

                2. It’s true, but you could also probably see a case where some private citizen ends up killing, or seriously harming, this guy because of some crazy antics.

                3. Actually this problem is solved, he won’t be robbing you next week because he was released this week, and we don’t have to supply him with tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of care every year until he’s released to rob you in the future.

              2. I don’t know either. But locking someone up should be an act of last resort and only for those who pose a threat to others. Doesn’t sound like this guy was dangerous, but how can you tell a mentally ill person they can’t take what they want? Too often family members abdicate their responsibility and foist these poor souls off on everyone else to deal with.

                1. So as long as someone is only stealing your television and car he should be free to go about his mayhem, because he’s not dangerous?

        2. Everyone knows stealing is a crime, and what the penalties are.

          Actually, everyone *doesn’t* know what the penalties are. Most think the penalty is a small fine, a misdemeanor record, and a few hours in custody.

          The *actual* penalty is an ever escalating schedule of ‘fee’s and potentially death.

          1. The *actual* penalty is an ever escalating schedule of ‘fee’s and potentially death.

            All the more reason to not risk everything over a petty crime. Too many people see politicians and celebrities get off with a slap on the wrist and assume we peons will get the same treatment.

            1. Am I the only one getting a whiff of Tulpa on this thread?

              Why is it so hard for some people to recognize that sometimes, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, and when that happens, the blame is entirely on those who impose the wrongful punishment?

  4. Another Man Dies of Neglect in Jail Cell.

    Jail officials denied any wrongdoing,

    Fairies. Pixie dust. Magic.

  5. One less junkie

    1. Did it say he was a “junkie” ANYWHERE it the article?!

  6. He stole $5 worth of goods from a 7-Eleven: a Mountain Dew, a Zebra Cake, and a Snickers bar.

    So what bizarre narcotic concoction will racists trot out to prove this guy was just another gangbanger who secretly deserved what came to him?

    1. It appears that the mere fact that he stole is sufficient to de-human him.

      1. Even more deplorable…HE STOLE FOOD! When a mentally ill person is hungry, I doubt his reasoning is anything less than faulty!

    2. To what you are referring to was brought up just yesterday. And is still as stupid and wrong as the first time it was trotted out.

    3. REEFER MADNESS!!!111!1!!!!!111

  7. The American War on Nuts continues.

    1. When will people learn that Mounds Almond Joy?

      If it saves just one schizophrenic…

      But seriously, this story is pretty depressing.

      1. God dammit. That was supposed to be Mounds “are greater than” Almond Joy. But I guess I can’t use the mathematical symbol because html.

          1. God you are so old.

            1. He really is. God.

              That was 8 years before I was even born, Epi. Get off my interwebz!

              1. What the fuck is with the sudden influx of utes around here?

                1. Sudden influx? Sounds kinky.

            2. That’s not what your mom said. Wait a second, speaking of that…when were you born? It couldn’t be…

        1. Yes, Mounds are far superior to Almond Joy. But that’s because the dark chocolate of the mounds provides a perfect balance to the sweet coconut inside. Whereas the milk chocolate in the Almond Joy combines with the coconut and produces a sickening sweetness two measly almonds can’t compensate. Perhaps I’ve put too much thought into this.

          1. No you didn’t, I agree with you, therefore your thought is perfect. If I didn’t agree with you you’d have put too much thought into it no matter the quantity.

  8. Jamycheal Mitchell, suffered from schizophrenia. He shed 36 pounds during his April-to-August incarceration, eventually succumbing to an as-of-yet-undisclosed combination of untreated medical issues, and neglect.

    Your just not yourself when your hungry, Snickers satisfies.

    1. That joke’s darker than… er, dark chocolate.

      1. Is that some kind of racist dog whistle? Calling this guy a darkie?

        1. Your words! I’m just a verbal Rorschach, I put the words on paper and trust you to see what you like.

          1. I thought that meant you put words on paper and then broke fingers until people gave you the information you wanted.

      2. that joke was just begging to be told, I had to dew it.

  9. His family is suing Macomb County.

    But what about the private corporation that runs the jail? That’s the real crime here!


    1. Now they’re blaming the private corporations that run big-city school districts. Neither Peak Derp nor Peak Lie will ever be reached.

  10. Despicable. Disgusting. Inhuman.

    In case it wasn’t made clear in any of a myriad number of stories thus far: every crime is punishable by death. The State will have your blood if it cannot have your money. And sometimes It takes both.

  11. Another unintentional death sentence.

    Are you sure about the unintentional part? Once in an unfortunate accident, but this shit seems to be happening awfully often to just be accidents. *adjusts tin foil hat*

  12. ‘Fuck the retards who deserve chilling turds hitting their low-watt fans when they reject the perfect… gotta fucking worry about the goddamn spics invading the job fields and shit and protecting the fucking bridges and shiny towers from unpredictable millions of Murikans with explosive tendencies who are wandering black alleys and internet phones waiting to pounce…’

    Fucking priorities, man. Fucking social/political priorities rarely align with common sense and ethics. Sad devil deserved none of this travesty I don’t give a fuck had he stole a TRUCK of crappy chocolate bars.

    Bars in jails separate none of the liars.

  13. Further proof the system works, right?

    I mean, what would the other option have been? I suppose you could have had the aggressor repay the victim what he took (plus interest) and let them both go on with their lives…

    Nah, that’s just crazy! “Justice” means letting the government “care” for them for a few years/decades until their debt to the government is paid!

  14. Maybe if the usa were to serious about Drugs they will reduce much more crimes

  15. I heard the jail staff passed the hat to take up a pool for who could guess the “expiration date” most closely.

  16. New York passed a law disallowing judges from trying to be “wanna be” doctors! They have absolutely no right to be changing a person’s medical care! People are dieing over this crap. They have been for quite a few years! One of these days it is going to be a family member if a doctor. Then we will see what happens to the ignorant wanna be-s! And, now that I think about it, the cops are doing the same damn thing as the judges. They do it when they claim doctors are drug dealers! They ruin their practices. They are found to be keeping someone, as this, in a situation, that results in a death in a person, who has mental illness. That should be a felony! They have enough of them they want to charge the rest of us with!

    1. family “of” a doctor

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