Davis County Jail reports 2 suicides in 1 week

Two Davis County Jail inmates have died by suicide in the past week.

Two Davis County Jail inmates have died by suicide in the past week. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

FARMINGTON — Two Davis County Jail inmates have died by suicide in the past week, the Davis County Sheriff's Office confirmed Thursday.

The most recent occurred Wednesday night when a male inmate in his 40s died by self-strangulation, a spokesperson said. The man was discovered between deputies' rounds. Life-saving measures were attempted before he was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The first death happened Sunday night when a male prisoner, also in his 40s, jumped from a balcony inside his housing unit, according to a news release from the Davis County Sheriff's Office.

Life-saving medical intervention was attempted then as well, but the man's injuries were ultimately fatal.

Davis County sheriff's spokeswoman Stephanie Dinsmore said Thursday that the office is not releasing the names of the two jail inmates who died, but she would not say why.

"Our hearts are heavy for the family of the departed and those who witnessed today's tragic events," Chief Deputy Arnold Butcher said in a prepared statement Sunday. "The well-being of our employees and those in our care is our top priority. Mental health services will be offered to inmates and staff throughout the evening and coming days."

Per policy, internal and external investigations will be conducted.

In 2021, Davis County Sheriff Kelly Sparks said his office has made "a philosophical change" and implemented a "higher standard" when it comes to preventing inmate suicides.

Since the Utah Jail Standards were made publically available in 2018, the Utah Department of Corrections has developed independent standards that Davis County now uses. In conjunction with those standards, the Davis County Jail has developed internal protocols and committees, Sparks said at that time.

First among its changes was the creation of the Life Safety Committee in 2019. The committee — comprised of correctional staff, social workers, medical providers and researchers — conducted a review of incidents that occurred within Davis County Jail and identified alternative policies and procedures focused on the welfare and protection of both inmates and staff.

Sparks told KSL.com in 2021 that the jail made a number of changes as a result of that review, including:

  • Each inmate brought in for booking receives screening from a nurse, and different screening tools are used to improve the identification of at-risk individuals.
  • Two counselors from Davis Behavioral Health have been added to the staff.
  • Staff is trained in crisis intervention and mental health first-aid.
  • The addition of a new medical wing.

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call 988 to connect with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Crisis hotlines

  • Huntsman Mental Health Institute Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • SafeUT Crisis Line: 833-372-3388
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis LifeLine at 988
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources

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