"Death Sentence," an IndyStar investigation, examines a significant and growing problem in Indiana: Since 2010, more than 300 people have died in county jails across the state. That amounts to a new death every two weeks.
What IndyStar found is as gruesome as it is troubling. Most of the men and women who died were held on non-violent charges and had not yet had their day in court. Several deaths were by suicide, but many other people died from a lack of medical care, overdoses, alcohol withdrawal, homicide and callous disregard by jailers.
The crisis is fueled by chronic overcrowding and widespread staffing shortages, two issues exacerbated in recent years by an influx of people who need treatment for substance use or mental illness.
Families are crushed by the indifference shown to their loved ones who died. Sheriffs are desperate for help to fix dangerous conditions.
And all of the problems are getting worse.
Indiana’s county jails are home to a hidden epidemic
People in nearly every Indiana county are dying inside their local jails. It's getting worse, and virtually every level of government shares in the blame. Read the story.
Jailers knew she might hurt herself, but she died hours later. She's not alone.
Jail suicides should be preventable, but they’re driving a death crisis in Indiana. Our review of deaths inside jails found that suicides occur with alarming frequency. Read the story.
Why Indiana’s jail safety standards are effectively meaningless
Since 2010, the state of Indiana has allowed 84% of jails to repeatedly violate safety standards, including crowding and understaffing. Read the story.
Jailers 'brutalized' a dying man in an Indiana jail; a prosecutor says it wasn't a crime
Jail video showed a dying man strapped to a restraint chair as two jailers repeatedly stunned him with a Taser. One jailer was a corrections officer. The other? The nurse. Read the story.
Bigger jails stand as monuments to Indiana's costly and deadly failures
Indiana's jails are overcrowding with people arrested on relatively minor charges, often related to drugs or mental illness. Now it's becoming a $1 billion problem. Read the story.
Five key takeaways from IndyStar's investigation
Here's a breakdown of the main findings in IndyStar's yearslong investigation. Read the story.
How IndyStar conducted its investigation
IndyStar filed at least 150 public records requests, conducted more than 50 interviews and combed through thousands of pages of police reports, court records and jail inspection reports. Read the story.
Database: Search by individual deaths or jails
No one in government accurately tracks the scope of Indiana's jail deaths crisis. Learn more about the people who died in this IndyStar database. Search the database.
Database: Is your jail overcrowded or understaffed?
Indiana county jails are inspected by the Indiana Department of Correction every year, but the findings are not published. IndyStar is releasing the findings for two key safety standards from 2010-20. Explore the database.
Watch: Inside the deadly crisis in Indiana's county jails
An IndyStar documentary takes you inside jails to witness the crisis first-hand. Hear from sheriffs, corrections experts and families who are struggling with the death of loved ones in jail. Watch the video.
Meet the team
Reporting: Tim Evans, Ryan Martin, Ko Lyn Cheang
Photos and video: Robert Scheer
Editing: Alvie Lindsay, Max Gersh
Digital design: Tracie Keeton
Graphics: Channing King, Yoonserk Pyun
Social media, engagement and promotion: Shannon Hall, Joe Mutascio, Catherine Rogers, Joe Tamborello
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Death Sentence: How a trip to your Indiana county jail could be fatal