Hernandez suicide raises fair questions about whether it could have been prevented


Prisoners don’t get much sympathy from the general public. Murderers in prison get less. Murderers in prison who commit suicide get even less.

But they still have rights, and those rights can be violated by authorities who know or should know that a prisoner has suicidal thoughts or tendencies and who fail to ensure that the means for committing suicide are not readily available in the prisoner’s cell. In the aftermath of the news that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez committed suicide by hanging himself with a bedsheet while imprisoned in Massachusetts, it’s fair to ask whether those responsible for Hernandez knew or should have known that he was a threat to himself.

Prisoner suicide is hardly a rare phenomenon. From 2001 through 2012, the suicide rate for Massachusetts prisoners nearly doubled the national average, with 38 in eleven years.

In January 2017, the Massachusetts legislature established a special commission on prisoner and correction officer suicides, with the goal of improving the procedures for determining whether a prisoner presents a suicide risk and for preventing suicide from occurring.

With Hernandez, it’s unknown whether he was saying or doing things to suggest he may harm himself only five days after securing an acquittal on double murder charges. Those questions will surely be asked in the coming days, and the reality is that the persons who are in the best position to know how he was behaving in prison also will have a strong incentive to downplay or to dismiss any evidence that Hernandez may have been inclined to take his own life, since it will mean that they should have done something to stop it.

28 responses to “Hernandez suicide raises fair questions about whether it could have been prevented

  1. It could have been easily avoided. All he had to do was not kill Odin Lloyd and he wouldn’t have been in that predicament. You reap what you sow.

  2. I get that there were people, or at least should have been people responsible for Hernandez’s well being, but i cannot see how a convicted murderer killing himself is a bad thing at all

  3. With this many suicides happening in Mass correctional maybe there is somthing shady going on overthere. Kinda odd dont ya think? You never know…

  4. .
    The actions of Hernandez are inexplicable. He was literally “living the dream” by being a starter on the highly competitive Patriots, catching passes from Tom Brady and making millions along the way. How many of us would have traded our current situations for Hernandez’ in a New York second?

  5. Could it have been prevented….probably
    Should it have been prevented…probably not

    Just saved the tax payers millions…. I say provide any inmate with a sheet & the opportunity to do the same….

  6. I’m struggling to find any discernible value in protecting a convicted murder. Did Odin Lloyd have his rights protected?

  7. Just as you had no problem “raising questions” about possible negligence by correction officials in Hernandez’s death without a shred of evidence, I will go ahead and defend the officials with no evidence to prove I’m right either.

    It is impossible for prison officials and COs to monitor everything every prisoner is saying to ensure they aren’t having suicidal thoughts. There a million things that need to be monitored on a 24/7 basis to maintain control in a prison and resources are stretched to the breaking point.

    Priorities need to be established, and if the officials and COs at a particular prison believe it to be slightly more important to monitor prisoner behavior to see whether any of them were thinking of, oh I don’t know, burning the place down or starting a gang war than to worry whether a prisoner is depressed, I am going to go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt.

  8. ….. if it really was suicide.

    Not being one for conspiracy theories, I’ll leave that to others.

  9. “…those rights can be violated by authorities who know or should know that a prisoner has suicidal thoughts or tendencies…”

    When you commit certain acts in our society, your rights become much less of a priority.

    We, as a society, have no problem taking someone’s second amendment constitutional right when they’re convicted of a felony.

    He brought this all on himself and he gets no sympathy from this guy.

  10. since when is it a “right” that other people should know what you are thinking?

  11. When we start worrying as much about the lives of unborn babies as we do about murderers in prison, I’ll put this issue a little higher on my priority list.

  12. You can beat the judicial system with money, but sometimes your conscience will catch up with you. This is a sad story in many different levels. Hernandez was clearly broken, but he was given an opportunity to make amends yet he blew all the opportunities provided to him. How many people get a chance to go to the NFL? And of those how many get to play a SB? This is a sad story with no winners and only victims, including Hernandez’ little daughter. Hopefully she and all the other families find peace.

  13. Prevented? It should be encouraged for murderers doing life in prison. Every murderer’s cell should have a heavy duty hook installed in the ceiling and be provided with a chair and a length of rope. Why do so many people’s hearts bleed for hardened criminals? The same people ignore the victims of violent crime. It is like half the country is living 180 degrees away from reality. Bring back the death penalty in every state. The only reason it is not a deterrent is because it is not used enough. A death row inmate has a better chance of dying from old age than to have their sentence carried out.

  14. He didn’t commit suicide. He was murdered for ratting out a gang member in his recent double-murder trial. So freaking obvious that I’m amazed more people don’t see it. Rats don’t last in prison, period. It’s as bad as being a child molestor.

    Further, it would be very easy to barricade a door from the inside and then leave. Haven’t any of you watched Oz? They showed how to do it in a dang television show.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword. The same gangster lifestyle that caused him to kill is the same gangster lifestyle that killed him. Justice has been served.

  15. Awesome, another chapter in the book of “I’m not Accountable for Myself, It’s Your fault!”

  16. I don’t condone what Aaron did, I knew he was guilty as charged and surprised he got acquitted. That being sad, it’s sad when anyone dies including Aaron.
    Some of the comments I’ve seen today make me sick. I work in mental health. It’s very clear Aaron had some type of mental illness. With his father dying when he was 16 brought it on.
    My point is that there needs to be more help, education, and acceptance of people that have mental health issues. I pray for all the victims in this story.

  17. Maybe suicide pills should be available to all life termers. Spare us the outrageous cost of housing you the rest of your life. Japanese culture might have one thing right. It’s the only course a scumbag like that has that seems like it has a shred of honor to it.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.