Davis County Jail Reports Second Inmate Suicide This Week

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The first inmate died on Sunday. The second died on Wednesday, officials said.

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Davis County Justice Center and Jail, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Two inmates at the jail committed suicide this week, officials said.

An inmate at the Davis County Jail died by suicide Wednesday night, officials said Thursday. He is the second man in prison care to die by suicide this week.

Authorities declined to identify the inmate who died on Wednesday, saying only that he was in his 40s. Prison staff found the man unresponsive in his cell just before midnight, according to a news release. He was taken to hospital, where he died. It is unclear how long he had been in custody or why he was booked.

Jail spokeswoman Stephanie Dinsmore said staff were required to check inmates in their cells every 30 to 60 minutes and staff followed that policy on Wednesday.

The man who died on Wednesday was living in different accommodation from the man who took his own life on Sunday, Dinsmore said. This man, who was also in his 40s, died after jumping from a balcony.

Dinsmore on Thursday declined to release the name of the man who died on Sunday, and it remains unclear how long he had been in jail before his death or why he was arrested.

“It is difficult to convey the sadness and deep concern we felt at the prison last week,” Chief Deputy Arnold Butcher said in a statement. “Staff and inmates mourn the death of any inmate in our custody that results from suicide. We take our responsibility to care for the people in our care and custody as our number one priority. »

Dinsmore said people in custody can seek help for mental health issues from the prison’s two licensed clinical social workers using their tablets, just as they would request any other medical appointment.

Inmates are also assessed for mental health issues and suicidal ideation while incarcerated. Those who express suicidal thoughts meet with a social worker that day and then have a follow-up appointment within 48 hours, she said. Davis Behavioral Health also offers resources for inmates. A peer support team is available for prison staff.

Internal and external investigators will investigate these deaths. The Life Safety Committee, an advisory board made up of employees and civilians, will also review the cases.

The death marks the third inmate death in a Utah prison this week. A man was found “alone and unresponsive” in his Millard County jail cell on Tuesday. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities also did not release his name.

At least seven inmates have died in Utah prisons this year. In 2020, the most recent year for which the state provided data, more people died in Utah prisons than any year since 2016, despite a lower prison population attributed to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Most of those deaths were suicides — the most common cause of death among Utah inmates since at least 2013, as far back as a state report has tracked the data.

Editor’s Note • If you or people you know are at risk of self-harm, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24-hour support at 1-800-273-8255.

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