Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Sept. 30, 2020

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Clark County Jail inmate dies of apparent suicide, officials say

By , Columbian Metro Editor

An inmate at Clark County Jail died Friday evening in what officials are terming an apparent suicide.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement Saturday that corrections deputies found the man alone in his cell unconscious and nonresponsive at 5:42 p.m. Friday.

“Deputies summoned aid and immediately began CPR,” the statement said. “Vancouver Fire Rescue and AMR responded and administered emergency medical aid. All efforts to resuscitate the subject were unsuccessful.”

The inmate was pronounced dead at 6:09 p.m., the statement said.

Sheriff’s officials said the inmate’s name and details about his confinement are being withheld pending family notification.

The circumstances of the man’s death are under investigation by the Clark County Major Crimes Unit. His body was turned over to the Clark County Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.

Between 2007 and 2012, a total of 13 inmates at the Clark County jail committed suicide, according to The Columbian archives.

Four inmate suicides in 2012 helped prompt numerous changes at the jail – including a remodel of one of its wings – but jail officials have said dealing with a mounting number of inmates dealing with mental health problems is an ongoing concern, both locally and nationally.

Most recently, in February, a man hanged himself in his cell, as did another in April 2015.

Nationwide, suicides in jail appear to be on the rise. The Bureau of Justice Statistics looked at inmate mortality from 2000-2013, and found a third of the nearly 1,000 jail deaths in 2013 were by suicide, the leading cause of death in jails since 2000.

The jail suicide rate increased from 14 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 40 suicides per 100,000 inmates to 46 per 100,000.

Andy Matarrese contributed to this report.