Sandra Bland was just one of thousands who die in custody

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Sandra Bland was just one of thousands who die in custody
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
In this July 10, 2015, frame from dashcam video provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, trooper Brian Encinia arrests Sandra Bland after she became combative during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. Bland was taken to the Waller County Jail that day and was found dead in her cell on July 13. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
In this July 13, 2015, frame taken from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Department from a motion-operated camera, emergency personnel carry a gurney near Sandra Bland's jail cell, at the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas. The video, released Monday, July 20, shows there was no activity for about 90 minutes in the hallway leading to the cell where authorities say Bland was found hanged, three days after her arrest. (Waller County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated handout photo provided by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office shows Sandra Bland. The Texas Rangers are investigating the circumstances surrounding Bland's death Monday, July 13, 2015 in a Waller County jail cell in Hempstead, Texas. The Harris County medical examiner has classified her death as suicide by hanging. She had been arrested Friday in Waller County on a charge of assaulting a public servant. (Waller County Sheriff’s Office, via AP)
This image from the Sandra Bland autopsy report provided by the Waller County District Attorney's Office shows wounds to Bland's neck and head area. The complete autopsy on Bland has been released, Friday, July 24, 2015, a day after authorities said there were no signs on her body to suggest that her manner of death in jail was anything but suicide. (Waller County District Attorney's Office, via AP)
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A videographer shoots outside the Waller County Jail Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas, where Sandra Bland died in a cell. Bland was arrested and taken to a jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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(Photo via Facebook)
(Photo via Facebook)
Dewayne Charleston speaks at a Waller County Commissioners Court meeting about the jail cell death of Sandra Bland in Hempstead, Texas, on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Bland was arrested and taken to a jail about 60 miles northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Geneva Read-Veal, center, hugs family members at a memorial service for her daughter Sandra Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Texas Sen. Royce West, center, speaks next to Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis during a news conference, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas, following a meeting regarding the investigation into the death of Sandra Bland. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A memorial sits outside the Waller County Jail Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas, where Sandra Bland died in a cell. Bland was arrested and taken to a jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Angel Duncan cries while speaking during a vigil for Sandra Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. Authorities said Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Bland's family is ordering an independent autopsy, lawyers said. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, center, speaks next to Texas Sen. Royce West, right, during a news conference, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas, following a meeting regarding the investigation into the death of Sandra Bland. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Flowers and other items adorn a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Anthony Collier, of Houston, marches with others from the Waller County Jail to the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding.  (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)  AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Protesters Kofi Taharka with William Mitchell, march with others from Waller County Jail to the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Protesters join hands outside the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Protester Vanessa Myers wears tape over her mouth during a rally outside the Waller County Courthouse after a march from the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
William Mitchell, 5, of Houston, holds a sign at a rally at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Friday, July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding.  (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)  AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Protesters march from Waller County Jail to the Waller County Courthouse, in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Carie Cauley, left, Rev. Hannah Bonner and Rhys Caraway protest, after the death of Sandra Bland, as they sit in front of the Waller County Sheriff's Office and county jail on Monday, July 20, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Authorities said Bland hanged herself in the jail three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Bland's family is ordering an independent autopsy, lawyers said. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Lanitra Dean hugs Carlesha Harrison, a friend of Sandra Bland, during a vigil for Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. Authorities said Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Bland's family is ordering an independent autopsy, lawyers said. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Shavon Bland, back left, Sharon Cooper, back center, and Sierra Cole, right, Sandra Bland's oldest sister Shante Needham, center, becomes emotional as she tries to answer a question from a reporter, during news conference about their sister's death, Thursday, July 16, 2015 in Chicago.  Their attorney Cannon Lambert, left, and their uncle Paul Needham, right, were also present. Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail after her arrest for allegedly kicking an officer following a traffic stop gave no indication she was in such an emotional state that she would kill herself, her sister said Thursday. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT CHICAGO TRIBUNE; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES OUT; DAILY HERALD OUT; NORTHWEST HERALD OUT; THE HERALD-NEWS OUT; DAILY CHRONICLE OUT; THE TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIANA OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES
Michael Wolfe, City of Hempstead Mayor, left, Frank Jackson, City of Prairie View Mayor, and Lois Kolkhorst, Texas State Senator, listen as Elton Mathis, Waller County District Attorney, right, speaks to the media at the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015. Mathis said there were no cameras in Sandra Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Shavon Bland, sister of Sandra Bland, speaks to members of the media following a prayer walk remembering Sandra Bland, Sunday, July 19, 2015, at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill. Sandra Bland, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, Monday, July 16. Bland was a member of the church for over a decade. (Mike Krebs/Daily Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT
Rev. James Miller and Rev. Lana Parks Miller lead a prayer walk remembering Sandra Bland, Sunday, July 19, 2015, at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill. Bland, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, Monday, July 16. Bland was a member of the church for over a decade. (Mike Krebs/Daily Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT
Rev. James Miller, left, and Rev. Lana Parks Miller, center, lead a prayer walk remembering Sandra Bland, Sunday, July 19, 2015, at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill. Bland, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, Monday, July 16. Bland was a member of the church for over a decade. (Mike Krebs/Daily Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT
Lambert tells @TJMShow the dash cam video shows the trooper pulling his taser out at #SandraBland & she then complies to get out of the car
Failure to signal should never lead to a violent arrest & death in a jail cell. "We can change this." #SandraBland https://t.co/JCaWjIiixa
#SandraBland UPDATE: Civil rights leaders in Texas are discussing working with the family to have an independent autopsy done on Bland.
I HEREBY ATTEST AND AFFIRM That if I die in police custody, I did NOT kill myself. Please get the appropriate revenge. #SandraBland
Beautiful sister, rest well. It's still on. #SandraBland http://t.co/kFts5ZANMR
It appears the FBI has officially been asked by Texas to help with investigation into the death of #SandraBland http://t.co/KnFx5Hu5YK
A major meeting is scheduled Tuesday on the campus of Prairie View A&M Univ. for top state officials to discuss the #SandraBland death
Wow. Just learned that the last man to "hang himself" in the Waller County jail was also arrested for "assaulting an officer" #SandraBland
Witness said #SandraBland was pulled THROUGH HER WINDOW and slammed by police after being pulled over for not using a turn signal.
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A Texas grand jury decided on Monday to not indict anyone for the mysterious jailhouse death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in her jail cell with a plastic bag wrapped around her neck in July. The controversy around Bland death prompted a national outcry, but she's just one of thousands of people who die in the custody of law enforcement agencies every year.

Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that about 4,000 people die each year while in a county jail or a state prison. In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 4,309 people died while in custody, a 2 percent increase from 2011. In county jails, suicide is the most common cause of death—according to the BJS, 40 of every 100,000 inmates kill themselves while behind bars at a county jail. Bland's death has been ruled a suicide.

Bland, a successful 28-year-old black woman, was found unresponsive in her cell at the Waller County Jail on July 13, three days after she was arrested following an incident with a Texas Department of Public Safety officer who stopped her for a minor traffic violation. Authorities say Bland became combative with the officer and at one point kicked him. Bland was on the verge of starting a new job when she died.

The grand jury decision in the Bland case comes on the heels of the mistrial in one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who also died while in the custody of law enforcement. As Vocative reported last week, convicting a law enforcement officer of a crime is uncommon. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 32 percent of law enforcement officers charged with crimes are convicted. For the general public, the conviction rate is about 68 percent.

Even when cops are convicted of crimes they are incarcerated at a much lower rate than everyone else. Those who are incarcerated after a conviction tend to do less time than the general public.

According to the data, law enforcement officials convicted of crimes are jailed about 36 percent of the time while the incarceration rate for the general public is 70 percent. Cops sentenced to time in jail or prison have an average sentence of 34.6 months compared to 49 months for the general public.

Darrell Jordan, one of five special prosecutors on the Bland case, said Monday that "the case is still open."

"The case is not over," he said. "That's what I'm stressing right now. The case is not over."

He said the grand jury will reconvene in January.

The post Sandra Bland Was Just One of Thousands Who Die In Custody appeared first on Vocativ.

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