Lewiston man commits suicide in Androscoggin County Jail

AUBURN — A 52-year-old inmate from Lewiston committed suicide Saturday while under observation at the Androscoggin County Jail.

Corrections officers inside the jail discovered the man at 1:04 p.m. He had hanged himself with pieces of a ripped bedsheet, Sheriff Guy Desjardins said. Paramedics rushed the man to Central Maine Medical Center, where he died.

The sheriff's office did not release the man's identity, pending notification of next of kin.

Desjardins said the man had health issues. On Friday, guards put him under observation because he was suspected of not taking his prescribed medication. He was moved to a cell near the jail's central booking area and given periodic checks.

They did not classify him as a suicide risk, Desjardins said.

Minutes after Saturday's suicide, the Sheriff's Department began a preliminary investigation.

Other agencies also will be examining what happened. Calls went out to the District Attorney's Office and the Maine Attorney General's Office, Desjardins said. And Maine State Police will be charged with doing a more thorough examination.

“We investigate all deaths in any of Maine's prisons and jails,” said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The investigation will address how a person under observation could succeed in such an act, Desjardins said. Police will likely interview staff, study logs and examine other records.

The observation cells are located in a high-traffic area of the jail. They sit along a small corridor between central booking, where all new inmates are taken, and the control room where locks are controlled and video cameras are monitored.

The death marks the second suicide in the 20-year-old jail. The first occurred shortly after the jail opened in 1990.

“We've had several attempts in recent years,” the sheriff said. “But those people made it.”

The former jail, which was razed last fall, had been notorious.

Suicide attempts were common as the small facility with floor-to-ceiling bars grew overcrowded. During a 10-day period in March 1988, four people tried to commit suicide and three succeeded.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

trubble, I don't know where you get off

making such outlandish claims.  NO ONE said inmates don't belong in prison, all we're saying is being in prison is the punishment, not mistreatment from guards.  And we don't know if there was any wrongdoing in this case, and we'll never know.  We should not allow the system to judge itself, what is needed is an impartial civilian panel to investigate.  So get off your high horse and behave like a human.

 's picture

We don't know and we'll never know

not as long as they're allowed to investigate themselves. 

 's picture

and you don't consider

those all part of the same system?  Man are you in fantasy land.

MICHAEL LEMAY's picture

Don't jump to conclusions

Tron, How foolish are you to think that any sheriff, no matter who it is, or any police chief or fire chief for that matter, is personally supervising their staff in person 24/7. It is tragic for the family, and those involved that day that this man decided to end his life, whether in the jail or at any other time or place.

The question for the investigators though. is: Were there policies in place for the well being of those in the jail, and were those policies adhered to in the care of this man. No state police detective or attorney-general's investigator is going to risk their reputation in covering up wrongdoing in this incident or any other. It's too bad that you feel there is some sort of a conspiricy out there putting our citizens at risk. Let's wait and see what they have to report when they are done with their investigation before we point the finger of blame at those who perform their jobs every day in a very stressful atmosphere.

Sheriff

I think Sheriff Desjardins has done and is doing a great job.  There is no need of some of your dumb comments.  They just show how ignorant some people are. 

 's picture

We should wait for the investigations, WHY?

the results are already known.  The people investigating the incident are all inter-connected.  I will guarantee no one will be charged with any crime in this case.  Unless a ruckus is made, no one will ever be reprimanded.  Where were you during this whole incident?  Were your deputies choking themselves, harassing females, duct taping each other or what?  The workings of the ASD has been a joke. And you've never taken responsibility ever, not even in this case.  We're cruel to the family?  How much more cruel were we when you clowns allowed this person to hang himself, and die?  Spare us your phony outrage and do the right thing.  Accept responsibility.

GUY DESJARDINS's picture

Respect

I’m sure many may suggest against my responding to blogs and may not be in the best interest for me as Sheriff to do so. I should not allow idiotic, foolish and demoralizing statements made by someone that has little or no knowledge of the subject at hand bother me. But the blogs published on April 11th, 2010 on the Sun/Journal website were just plain cruel, not only to the family and friends of the deceased, but also to all members of my organization.

It is apparent that the authors never experienced the loss of human life while in ones arms, if he or she did; I suspect you would have never made such a disgusting comment. The men and women that are charged with maintaining the safety and security of our county jail have a responsibility that very few of our citizens could ever imagine or even experience or would they ever care to. Our corrections officers perform a vital service that is key to the success of maintaining law and order that we as citizens all enjoy within our respective communities. If it were not for their services, where would our criminal justice system be?

If I could make a very strong suggestion to MAROONED and TRON, whoever you may be, why don’t you first allow the process and investigation to take its course and at the end, take the time to make an educated and positive comment. If that is so impossible then I would suggest to just allow those in public service to do their job and you can sit back and enjoy the protection that they provide.

For me, I will stand fast in making any judgment until a complete and thorough investigation has been conducted by the Attorney Generals Office and the Maine State Police, evaluate their findings and then, and only then, respond accordingly. But for now, there is one thing we can all do, keep our thoughts and prayers to the family of the deceased and the members of our corrections staff that were on duty on April 10th, 2010.

Guy P. Desjardins, Sheriff

Androscoggin Sheriff’s Office

Office Number – 784-7361 ext. 230.

Observation????

Sorry but I don't know what they were observing ; the back of their eyelids, pictures on a computer or cell phone?  Well, I bet they had time to fill in bogus info before the authorities were called in.  No need to be so slack as to give a person time to hang themselves.  If he was on watch because he wasn't taking his meds, then it might be safe to say that the person was a risk to himself.  Poor work performance if you ask me.....

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

Sort of like the incident of

Sort of like the incident of the roy girl at the big apple when they knew the store would be robbed they pulled thier crusier in the back of a building so it could not be seen only forgot that they could not see the store either DUH! another excerpt from the keystone cops.

 

 's picture

Was under observation???

Should have duct taped him to the floor dummies, if you can't "observe" him properly!!!!

 's picture

One has to wonder

if anyone will be charged in this death.  What am I saying, they're investigating themselves so I'm sure they'll all be exonerated.  Gotta say though, must be an excellent reason to re-elect the Sheriff.

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