CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Lawmakers and families of victims are calling for a federal investigation into deaths at the Al Cannon Detention Center.
7 inmates have died, over the last 26 months at the jail.
“This is a complicated issue,” Congresswoman Nancy Mace said.
One of them, Julian Jenkins died this month.
He was in jail for missing a court date tied to a shoplifting charge.
“He’s housed in the detention center medical unit, and 6 days later they found him dead,” SC Rep. Marvin Pendarvis said.
Representative Pendarvis, who is also a lawyer, is representing Jenkins’ family.
He and the Jenkins family are calling for a federal investigation.
“When you’re in the detention center, it should not be a death sentence. You’re not on death row,” Rep. Pendarvis said.
Lawmakers from Washington are also getting involved.
Congresswoman Nancy Mace toured the facility Monday morning.
“I support the county council’s and the detention facility’s effort to have a third party take a look at what’s happening here,” Mace said.
She says the issue is that a lot of the inmates have mental health issues, and the detention center not having the means to meet their needs.
She also said something has to be done about the staffing issues.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to address these issues, and the only way to do that is if we work together, if we communicate together and this was a great first step in doing that.” Mace said.
“It’s something that should not be tolerated, and it needs to be investigated and that’s what we’re calling for,” Rep. Pendarvis said.
The sheriff’s office responded, saying they “Have nothing to hide. We welcome factual information rather than rumor and innuendo.”
Charleston County Sheriff Graziano did not attend the tour today as she was out of town on a previously-scheduled trip, according to CCSO.