We Mourn the loss of Davion Owens’ Life While Held In Cook County Jail
In March, Davion Owens died while in custody at Cook County jail. He was 23 years old and had been incarcerated in the jail since July 21, 2020.
Mr. Owens’ cause of death is presumed to be suicide. Prior to Davion’s passing, Judge Luciano Panici set an unaffordable money bond on his freedom of $20,000-D, which meant that he needed $2,000 to be released. Although his attorney filed a motion to reduce the amount of his bail, Judge Patrick Coughlin denied the motion on February 8, 2021.
According to the Bureau Of Justice Statistics (BJS), the suicide rate in jails and state prisons is, on average, more than double that of the general public. Incarceration has a devastating impact on mental health, and one need not be incarcerated long for these negative impacts to take place. BJS also found that 41% of deaths by suicide occur during the first week of a person’s jail stay, and that suicide is the leading cause of death in jails. The experience of being caged without proper mental or physical health care, while separated from family and uncertain about when or if one will be released, is incredibly tortuous. It is in these inhumane conditions that we lost Mr. Davion Owens.
Our thoughts are with Mr. Owens’ family and loved ones, and we commit to continue fighting for justice and dignity for all people who are impacted by pretrial incarceration. We will not stop until no more precious lives are lost to the cruelty of carceral systems.
Rest in Power, Davion.