SC Rep. JA Moore files ‘Justice for Jamal Act’ to crack down on mental health protocols in the criminal justice system

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Lowcountry lawmakers and community activists are reacting to the death investigation of Jamal Sutherland.

Sutherland was taken into custody on January 5 after becoming agitated and violent while at a behavioral health center. He was taken to the Al Cannon Detention Center and died while being removed from his cell by detention center deputies.

Jamal Sutherland

State Representative JA Moore says he believes there is no excuse for the treatment Sutherland received while in the detention center.

“As a legislator, I’m doing everything I can to prevent this from happening again to anyone; specifically individuals who are in a mental health facility asking for help and treatment,” he says.

Moore believes the system failed Sutherland. After speaking with the family, he filed the ‘Justice for Jamal Act’, which “addresses excessive force and the treatment of inmates with mental health conditions in our prisons.”

He says the act will take a hard look at the policies used in the criminal justice system and lay out exactly how each case, specifically those who are being arrested and taken to a mental health facility, should be handled in the future.

Rep. Marvin Pendarvis (Left) // Rep. JA Moore (Right)

With new information surrounding the death investigation of Sutherland coming to light, Moore is encouraging the community to stay patient and focus on the facts.

“My call to action to our community is to pay attention to the actual facts and details and not get caught up in speculation. Not focus on anything else but making sure that this grieving family gets justice,” he says.

This is an ongoing investigation. We will provide updates as they become available.