After two inmates attempted to hang themselves earlier this month, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office detention staff saved a third inmate from suicide at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility.
An inmate of the SPHIDF knocked on the main door of the Oscar housing block on December 16, 2022, around 5:21 p.m., telling detention staff that another inmate of the housing block was attempting to hang himself. When Detention Deputy Twing opened the door, he saw the prisoner dangling from a bed sheet that was attached to a cell door grate.
While Detention Deputy Cantrell attempted to support the inmate in releasing pressure from around his neck, Detention Deputy Malagon cut the bed sheet. While Deputy Twing went to get the AED, Deputy Malagon started the inmate’s CPR. As jail medical personnel arrived on the scene and took over the inmate’s medical care, the inmate began to regain consciousness. The prisoner was later taken to a nearby hospital for additional treatment, and it is anticipated that he will recover fully.
After a three-day trial at the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center, the inmate had been found guilty of two counts of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon/Bodily Harm before attempting suicide. After a fight outside of a Palm Coast bar in May 2021, he was found guilty of stabbing one victim multiple times in the arm. On January 23, 2023, his sentence was scheduled to begin.
Sheriff Staly ordered a review of all suicide prevention procedures in the detention facility following three attempted suicides this month. Executives from the contracted healthcare provider for the jail flew in immediately from out of state to carry out an in-person process and post-action evaluation. With the assistance of detention, mental health, and medical personnel, the objective is to evaluate all aspects of the facility’s suicide prevention strategy. Annual online suicide prevention training is typically provided to all detention staff. Beginning in 2023, the jail will conduct in-person, more hands-on suicide prevention training for all Detention staff. The QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) method will be the focus of this mandatory training, which will be held in conjunction with Epic Behavioral Health to further educate Detention staff on how to assist an inmate in crisis.
Additionally, instead of taking place in a cell within the housing block, mental health screenings will now take place in a private room. The staff hopes that this change will make it easier for inmates to talk about their own mental health and potential issues with a mental health specialist in a private setting where other inmates can’t hear them. In the past, Sheriff Staly provided inmate mental health counseling and conducted mental health screenings for all new arrestees at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility.
The use of a Court Event Form is the third change that will be implemented. When an inmate’s case undergoes a significant update, such as a new charge or sentencing, the Court Event Form will be utilized. These updates could have a significant impact on the inmate’s life. When an inmate’s behavior changes as a result of significant changes to the inmate’s criminal case, this form will assist staff in “seeing something, saying something.”
The first inmate was given a five-year prison sentence, and the third inmate was found guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon or bodily harm, resulting in two of the three attempted suicides this month in the jail.
After an attempted suicide occurred in the back of a jail transport van while the inmate was being transported from the court to the detention facility, Sheriff Staly made the fourth change.
All transport vans will now have cameras installed in the back. In the event that a prisoner attempts to end their own life while being transported, the Detention Deputy will be able to keep an eye on them because of this. FCSO is working with our camera supplier, AXON, to roll out this improvement. Additionally, all incarcerated individuals who are being transported in a vehicle will now be handcuffed behind their backs. This modification is being made for the transporting Detention Deputy’s safety as well as to stop suicide attempts.
“Studies have shown that holidays can often be a time of increased depression and increased suicides and attempts,” said Sheriff Staly. “And being confined in a detention facility during the holidays increases the risk. Again, I commend our deputies and the medical team for their quick response and once again saving a life. They are the invisible heroes that are rarely seen serving our community while working in the detention facility. I have also directed that all inmates receive two free 15-minute phone calls with their families between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I hope this will remind them that their families love them, and they too love their children and other significant persons in their life. My hope is this provides some cheer to everyone during the holidays. We have worked with our phone provider and these calls are being done at no cost to the taxpayer.”