NEWARK (AP) — An Ohio sheriff is looking for ways to stop suicides at a jail with a recent history of prisoners taking their lives, following the deaths of two inmates after separate suicides.
The prisoners were housed at Licking County Jail in Newark in central Ohio, where five staff members lost their jobs last year after an inmate suicide and several other suicide attempts, the Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1uk8IWG).
Jeffrey Skeele died at Ohio State University’s medical center Saturday, eight days after deputies discovered him with a bedsheet around his neck looped over a sprinkler head, the paper said.
The paper says inmate Spencer McLaughlin died at the medical center Wednesday, two days after deputies found him with a sheet tied around his neck in his cell.
“It’s very frustrating because, obviously, we care,” Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said.
In May, an inmate committed suicide in his cell an hour before he was to accept a plea deal on assault and burglary charges, the paper said. Following that suicide, three other inmates tried to kill themselves, including a woman who jumped from a top-floor stairwell.
An investigation ordered by Thorp found that jail employees had neglected or failed to complete mandatory bed checks and falsified log records about their rounds. Afterward, four guards and a deputy resigned under threat of being fired.
The jail added an electronic-monitoring system after last year’s investigation that records rounds by jail employees and alerts supervisors if a round is missed.
After three inmates killed themselves in 2011, the jail stretched netting between floors of the jail to stop inmates from jumping to their deaths.
Thorp said the jail went eight years without a suicide before 2011.
“But one is too many, and it’s our job and our goal to find a way to stop this,” he said.