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An Inmate in Johnson County Jail Commits Suicide – Pt. 2

DM County Jail

Daniel Lee Blankenship died on February 12, 2021, while in the custody of Johnson County Jail in Cleburne, Texas. Several days prior, he was found unresponsive in his cell, having apparently attempted suicide.

The prevention of inmate suicide is addressed by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) under the Health Services chapter in RULE §273.5 – Mental Disabilities/Suicide Prevention Plan. County jails in Texas are required to uphold minimum jail standards. The requirements related to suicide involve measures known to help with the prevention of custodial suicides, and it is concerning that, many times, jails are non-compliant in areas associated with keeping inmates safe.

The following are examples taken from a 2021 Jail Inspection Report in Texas that reflect non-compliance under the above-cited procedures for suicide prevention.

Non-Compliance in Staff Training

Under paragraph .5(a)(1), staff training is required with regard to procedures for recognizing, supervising, documenting, and handling potentially suicidal prisoners. Among the staff members whose duties include intake screening, supplemental training is also required.

  • The TCJS inspector did not find any sort of verification that jailers had been through suicide prevention training for the past 15 months.

Non-Compliance Regarding Intake Screening

Under paragraph .5(a)(2), certain intake screening procedures must be followed in order to identify inmates who are known to be potentially suicidal.

  • The inspection report shows that the procedures for complying with the identification of inmates through intake screening were not followed.

See Part 1 and this ongoing series.

This website’s posts are intended as resources that could potentially be of help to current and former inmates in Texas county jails. It is not intended at any time to suggest that individuals or entities have engaged in misdeeds.

–Guest Contributor

Written By: author image smchugh
author image smchugh