Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Victoria paper examines jail suicides

The Victoria Advocate yesterday published an informative item ("Victoria County Jail takes steps to stop suicides by inmates," May 7) on Texas jail suicides which opened:
At a time when suicides are the leading cause of death in county jails, Texas jails are following tougher standards to bring down those numbers.

Authorities agree the application of the state's suicide prevention program at the Victoria County Jail helps keep the number of suicides and inmate uprisings to a minimum.

Of the five deaths in the county jail since the Texas Commission on Jail Standards began regulating them in 2009, two were suicides. The other three were listed as natural causes.

Texas once led the nation in jail suicides, but a state suicide prevention program has helped the state shake that stigma.

The statewide rate dropped from 31 in 1986 to 17 in 1994, according to an article by Graham Baker in Texas County Magazine.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards reported 19 county jail inmate suicides last year.
See the rest of the story for details of strategies being pursued in Victoria in the wake of two recent jail suicides. It should be mentioned there have been some questions about undercounting suicides, but not enough to mitigate the downward trend described in the story compared to the '80s. In any event, as the leading cause of inmate deaths the issue has to remain a central focus of risk management at county jails.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess the Victoria Sheriff forgot about this one. I wonder if it was even reported to the Jail Commission...??

"Warrants withdrawn for recovering inmate"

Originally published July 28, 2009 at 9:39 p.m., updated July 29, 2009 at 8:05 a.m.

The Victoria County inmate who attempted suicide Friday is no longer in custody and warrants against him have been temporarily withdrawn, Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said Tuesday.

"He's not a flight risk and in fact he may not even survive the ordeal," he said. "He's on a respirator at this time."

Raymond Pena Jr., 35, attempted suicide Friday evening within hours of his arrest, but O'Connor would not release the details of how the suicide attempt occurred. The incident is still under independent investigation by the Texas Rangers.

O'Connor said he anticipates the warrants to be reinstated when Pena recovers.

Pena was arrested on warrants charging him with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

He is listed in stable condition at DeTar Hospital Navarro.