Male attempts suicide at jail

TROY — A male inmate attempted suicide at the Miami County Jail on Monday night.

According to Sheriff Dave Duchak, the male used a sheet to try to hang himself. The attempt was unsuccessful and the man was taken to Upper Valley Medical Center for treatment and put on suicide watch.

Duchak said this is the sixth time the man has attempted suicide while in the custody of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. He said the repeat offender has spent several months in jail this time and is scheduled to be sentenced in late May.

“He is constantly on suicide watch,” Duchak said. “You have to constantly be vigilant and we do everything we can.”

Duchak said the man has been sent to multiple mental health facilities around the state and returned to jail.

“They take them for a couple days, weeks and medicate them and send them back to us,” Duchak said of inmates with mental health issues needing further assistance.

Duchak said law enforcement is stretched beyond what they can handle with inmates that have mental health needs, and “the numbers are off the charts for inmates with mental health issues.” He said the jail had many suicide attempts in the last year.

In response to the mental health crisis at the jail and incarceration facility, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office recently initiated an on-site mental health specialist four days a week through the Tri-County Board of Mental Health’s Recovery and Wellness division, Duchak said. The specialist splits his time with inmates at both facilities to counsel and support inmates in crisis.

“I can’t begin to tell you how inadequate and utterly failed our state mental health system is. It’s frustrating and puts the burden on law enforcement,” Duchak said. “Talk to any sheriff in the state. The politicians know.

“Everyone on the mental health side and the law enforcement side are totally fed up,” Duchak said.

Duchak said the sheet used to attempt suicide is a basic right of the inmate and the male had been returned to the general population just two days prior.

“Sheets … inmates have rights and once they are cleared off suicide watch you have to give them their rights back,” Duchak said.