Teen's suicide emblematic of problems at New Orleans jail


Fifteen-year-old Jaquin (jah-KWAHN’) Thomas was arrested a year ago this month. He was accused of murder and eventually sent to the New Orleans jail to await trial.

That’s where he killed himself last fall and became one of the symbols of how a new jail facility that opened in 2015 failed to solve the old jail’s problems of inadequate security and violence.

An arrest warrant for the guard who was supposed to be watching Thomas says the teen’s lifeless body hung motionless from a jail window bar for 90 minutes before anyone noticed.

A federal judge has noted the suicide while lamenting slow progress in reforms at the jail. However, he also has expressed confidence in a new director working to improve training and staffing at the lockup.



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