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2 General-Population Inmates Outside Texas Commit Suicide

In a county jail outside of Texas, a man committed suicide on New Year’s Eve. He had tied a blanket around his neck and was discovered unresponsive at 1:58 pm.  An emergency medical services team took over life-saving efforts that were started by members of the jail’s medical staff. Minutes later, the unsuccessful efforts were discontinued, and the inmate was pronounced dead at 2:39 pm.

The fact that an inmate has a blanket, regular clothing, or a sheet that can be used for self-harm is evidence that he or she was not placed on suicide watch. Special precautions are supposed to be made if a person is known to be potentially suicidal. Jails have a responsibility to take appropriate measures to keep prisoners from committing suicide, which is the leading cause of death in jails and prisons.

Sometimes after a custodial suicide occurs, details about warning signs of potential suicide emerge. An example involves a custodial suicide that occurred in another county jail outside Texas in the summer of 2021. The 31-year-old woman who died from suicide had been arrested during a traffic stop. After her death, her husband claimed that the county jail staff knew his wife had clearly demonstrated evidence of suicide risk factors. He says that she showed signs of opiate withdrawal as well as alcohol withdrawal and suicidal ideations. 

Learn more in this ongoing series.

There is never an intention on this website to suggest that any person or organization has been involved in misdeeds. The purpose of the post on this site is to provide resources of potential help to inmates now or previously incarcerated in a county jail in Texas.

–Guest Contributor

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Civil Rights Lawyer Texas – Policies are Explored at a Jail With a High Rate of Suicides – Part 3

Suicide Prevention Continued

In response to scrutiny over the high number of suicides categorized as preventable at the county jail outside Texas that this series is about, the leading authority at the jail says that the additional training he seeks for jail staff is a priority. The plan, he says, is to expand their policies of suicide prevention and ensure that jail staff can identify behaviors that are red flags indicating that an inmate is at risk for committing suicide.

Currently, the suicide prevention policy starts with health screening that is performed by the correctional officer, not a mental health professional. Jailers at the intake level are instructed to search for any indication of suicide behavior in each inmate’s history.

If an inmate talks about suicide or if a jailer identifies suicidal behavior, he or she can refer that inmate to a mental health professional at the jail. If no one in the mental health staff is available at that time, the nursing staff uses a tool for suicide assessment which helps to identify when a person is exhibiting signs of suicide potential.

In various high-traffic areas of the jail, signs are posted which identify behaviors that are associated with depression and anxiety and which show how to get help. If someone advises the jail staff that they are suicidal, that individual is moved to a medical unit where they have access to mental health professionals.

See Part 1, Part 2, and this continuing series.

The posts on this site are all intended to provide helpful information that may benefit current and former inmates and their families. There is never an intention on this website to make any sort of inference that a person or institution has engaged in impropriety.

–Guest Contributor

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Attorney in Texas – Policies are Explored at a Jail With a High Rate of Custodial Suicides – Part 2

DM County Jail

Medication Policies Continued

Inmates are able to schedule medical appointments using jail-issued tablets. Scheduling in which inmates are provided with medical care is handled on a priority basis. Emergencies are addressed without delay and low-priority requests can take a couple of days, depending on how heavy the healthcare provider’s patient load is at this jail outside Texas.

An inmate may believe they need a certain medication, but they will not receive it if the medical staff does not agree. The only recourse is to file a grievance on the jail-issued tablet. An official at the jail said he is unaware of instances where any inmate who filed such a grievance later received the prescription.

The jail policy on prescriptions includes a provision in which an inmate may be allowed to have as many as three doses of certain medications but only if the bottle is properly marked. This is also a rare type of incident, according to the jail overseer.

Suicide Prevention

In a process that typically lasts approximately 3 and one-half months, correctional officers at the jail are trained in the Academy on how to prevent custodial suicides. Refresher training is provided for the jail staff every two years on medical issues, recognizing signs of distress, and suicide prevention. The leading authority at the jail said that he would like for the jail staff to receive training of a more robust nature once or twice annually.

See Part 1 and this ongoing series about a jail outside Texas with an alarmingly high rate of deaths, which experts say are mostly preventable suicides.

The posts on this site are all meant as resources of information that might help current and former inmates and their families. It is never intended anywhere on this website to make any sort of implication that impropriety has occurred on the part of an institution or individual.

–Guest Contributor

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Attorney Texas – Two Jailers are Suspended and an Inmate’s Suicide is Under Investigation

Prison cells in big jail and security guard.

A 29-year-old man committed suicide in a county jail outside Texas in November 2020, and his devastated family members feel that the jail staff is responsible. Their loved one had an optimistic phone call with his brother the morning he died. Also, he had previously spent 7 years in prison and had only been at this jail for a few weeks. They question what circumstances may have caused what they consider an unexpected suicide.

It is appropriate to question when inmates die in jails because the primary duty of those in authority is to follow jail standards and keep inmates healthy and safe. Detainees have a right to medical care while incarcerated, and strict procedures are in place to prevent custodial suicides. It is completely out of place to think that jailers behave indifferently, endangering lives. Yet, in this particular case, there is an investigation related to some questionable claims.

A corrections officer and a captain at the jail have been suspended because they allegedly saw that the inmate appeared lifeless and did not call for help for almost 15 minutes. Another disturbing claim is that the aforementioned corrections officer had seen the inmate with a makeshift noose around his neck not long before the inmate took his own life with that noose.

The custodial suicide is under investigation.

The posts on this site are all meant as informational resources that might provide assistance to current and former inmates and their families. It is never intended anywhere on this website to make any sort of suggestion that impropriety has occurred on the part of a person or entity.

–Guest Contributor

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