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Oklahoma Corrections Department sued over inmate’s suicide

September 20, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is being sued for not doing enough to prevent a 25-year-old murder convict from hanging herself in her cell in 2016.

Amber Hilberling’s estate filed the lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court in July, alleging the department did not take “any reasonable steps to prevent or address the conditions” that led to Hilberling’s suicide at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud.

The lawsuit alleges inadequate supervision, medical care and segregation procedures, The Tulsa World reported . The estate is seeking more than $75,000.

A Corrections spokesman said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Hilberling said she was acting in self-defense when she shoved her husband, Joshua Hilberling, and he fell through a window of their Tulsa home in 2011. Amber Hilberling, who was 19 at the time and seven months pregnant, argued that the death was an accident caused by “unusually thin” windows in the couple’s apartment. She was sentenced to 25 years.

The lawsuit said Amber Hilberling was manipulated, coerced and sexually exploited by an inmate throughout her time at Mabel Bassett.

Another inmate found Hilberling hanging in her cell in October 2016. She died by asphyxia hanging, according to the medical examiner’s report.

The department exposed Amber Hilberling to conditions that “substantially increased the risk of harm to her,” the lawsuit said. Conditions include inoperable video surveillance equipment that hindered supervision, inadequate security checks and inadequate inmate count procedures, the lawsuit said.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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