Eat the Bugs Before They Eat You: Georgia Inmate Eaten Alive by Insects

Carolyn Kaster

How many inmates does it take to get eaten by insects before the Fulton County Jail in Georgia will do something about the filth? Fortunately for the rest of the inmates, it only took one.


After it was determined that Lashawn Thompson, 35, suffered from schizophrenia, Thompson found himself relegated to the psychiatric ward of the Fulton County Jail after being arrested in Atlanta on a misdemeanor battery charge. He was there for three months, awaiting his day in court. He never made it. Thompson was allegedly eaten alive by bedbugs and other insects.

“It’s no secret that the dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions of the current facility make it incredibly difficult to meet the goal of providing a safe, clean, well-maintained and healthy environment for all inmates and staff,” Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat stated. “Without making explicit statements about Mr. Thompson’s health, it’s fair to say that this is one of many cases that illustrate the desperate need for expanded and better mental health services.”

Labat’s statement also called for the resignations of the chief jailer and two assistant chief jailers. All three jailers have since quit.


FACT-O-RAMA! Schizophrenia can lead to delusions, hallucinations, and withdrawal from reality, meaning it’s entirely possible Thompson may have thought the bugs eating him weren’t even real.

After Thompson’s gruesome death, the Fulton County Jail moved more than 600 inmates to another facility and coughed up $500,000 in emergency funds to address prison overcrowding.

Related: How Bad Is Portland’s Drug Problem? So Bad That It Closed a County Drug Center.

Though Thompson was allegedly estranged from his family, relatives were quick to hire a lawyer and launch a lawsuit.

“People like him get neglected. His parents are deceased,” family attorney Michael Harper declared. “No wife, no kids. His family’s not from Atlanta, so they weren’t here while he was here to keep up with him. But they got the call that he had died in the jail.”

“Not Fit for a Deceased Animal”

“The family approved photographs show[ing] that the jail cell Mr. Thompson was housed in was not fit for a deceased animal,” Harper continued. “He did not deserve this. Someone has to be held accountable for his death. The Fulton County Jail must be closed and replaced.”



Photos of the deceased Thompson  — and his squalid jail cell — can be seen here.

Documents obtained by Harper allegedly show correction officials and jailhouse medical personnel were aware of Thompson’s gruesome deterioration and — astonishingly — did nothing to help him.

“They literally watched his health decline until he died,” Harper further stated. “When his body was found one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because in her words she ‘freaked out.'”


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