R. Kelly
R. Kelly | Image: Mark Davis/Getty

R. Kelly Sues Prison After Being Placed On ‘Punitive’ Suicide Watch

R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison this week after being found guilty of sex trafficking. Kelly has now initiated legal proceedings against the Brooklyn prison in which he is being held for placing him on suicide watch. According to his claim, Kelly alleges it’s being done “solely for punitive reasons” due to his status as a “high-profile inmate”.

As the ABC reports, Kelly is being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Centre, where he has been placed on suicide watch; a continuous state of monitoring to ensure that the inmate causes no harm to themselves. However, Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, has claimed that despite Kelly’s repeated assurances that he is not suicidal, the 55-year-old musician has been subjected to it for “punitive reasons”.

R. Kelly rebuffs the need for suicide watch

Bonjean claims that the “harsh conditions” have led to “severe mental distress” for the musician, amounting to “cruel and unusual punishment” that allegedly violates his Eighth Amendment rights. “MDC has a policy of placing high profile individuals under the harsh conditions of suicide watch whether they are suicidal or not (this was done recently with Ghislaine Maxwell),” Bonjean explained to PEOPLE recently.

“MDC Brooklyn is being run like a gulag,” she added. “My partner and I spoke with Mr. Kelly following his sentencing, he expressed that he was mentally fine and ONLY expressed concern that even though he was NOT suicidal, MDC would place him on suicide watch (as they did following the guilty verdict).”

Currently, Brooklyn’s MDC has not addressed the suit, while it remains unclear what damages Kelly is seeking in his claim. However, the ABC reports that Kelly is apparently seeking $100 million in compensatory damages.

Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison last week after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges last year. He will also stand trial in Chicago this August in a separate case, where he has plead not guilty to charges relating to federal child pornography and obstruction of justice.

If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732. For help or information regarding mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. 

Further Reading

R. Kelly Has Been Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking

Lady Gaga Is Reissuing ARTPOP On Vinyl Minus R. Kelly Collab

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