Suicide at Bucks County Correctional Facility Leads to Wrongful Death Civil Rights Suit

As reported in local media, KRMFL filed a wrongful death civil rights suit against Bucks County, PrimeCare Medical, Inc., and their employees on behalf of the  family of Charles Freitag, Sr. In August 2018, a prisoner found Freitag on the floor kneeling while slumped over his bed and notified correctional officers who determined that the he had died of self-inflicted wounds to his arms. Prior to Freitag’s suicide, staff members of the the Bucks County Correctional Facility and its private medical contractor, PrimeCare Medical Inc., were aware of Freitag’s recent history of two suicide attempts.

Freitag’s death occurred the day following his sentencing hearing, where a judge sentenced him to six to 12 years in state prison for running his truck into his ex-wife’s home after slicing his arms with a box cutter. His history with major depressive disorder dated back to 2017 following a series of unfortunate life changing events including the deaths of several family members and friends in addition to a divorce. While Freitag was imprisoned following his conviction, his brother informed his attorney about Freitag’s deteriorating mental health and his attorney notified the prison, where mental health professionals quickly concluded that Freitag was “an emotional wreck”.

Given Freitag’s obvious history of depression and suicide, Bucks County, PrimeCare, and their employees failed to recognize the clear suicide risk. The prison failed to follow its own protocols in regards to inmate watch and suicide prevention.  In the Freitag family’s civil rights complaint, they allege that the defendants violated Freitag’s civil rights as they were deliberately indifferent to his vulnerability to suicide.

The Freitag family is represented by Jonathan Feinberg.

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