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Offers of suicide prevention items for the prison have been canceled; sheriff says resources are sufficient | New

A request for suicide prevention items at the Cleveland County Jail has been canceled, but sheriff officials say they don’t expect to have to exceed their current supplies.

County commissioners on Tuesday canceled offers for a suicide safety gown and security blanket. The ordinance was submitted to commissioners “due to price increases from award-winning suppliers,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

The gown and blanket “are used to bring warmth and modesty” to those incarcerated with suicidal thoughts while ensuring their safety, Sheriff’s spokesman Mendi Brandon said in an email to The Transcript.

As of Wednesday, the prison had placed 411 people on suicide precautions over the previous year. Two incarcerated people have committed suicide in the past five years, according to information provided by Brandon.

According to county records, the lowest prices were $ 51.50 for gowns and $ 47 for blankets. These offers were submitted by ICS Jail Supplies in Texas.

“Due to the increase in the cost of materials and transportation since this contract was awarded, we are unable to honor the initial price awarded,” a note told ICS. County purchasing coordinator Melinda Duke declined to comment on the offers.

Brandon said “the current requirement for this non-consumable item is zero,” but did not specify which item. She also said the prison currently does not need items that need to be replaced on a regular basis.

“Our inventory control officer is very good at making sure we have a sufficient supply in reserve and even more so since the start of the pandemic due to supply chain issues,” she said.

The prison has “multiple areas” that can hold suicidal inmates, but Brandon did not specify how much space when asked. Sheriff officials did not provide details on the number of beds in the prison or the services offered to suicidal inmates.

Brandon also said the prison had “a number” of detention officers and mental health providers trained in emergency response, but did not specify how many when asked. She said the sheriff’s office frequently uses this staff to determine a course of action for inmates.

Commissioner Darry Stacy said after Tuesday’s meeting that he did not have enough information to comment on the suicidal inmates in the prison.


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