Female inmate in critical condition after attempted suicide

June 02, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- A 19-year-old woman remained in critical condition Wednesday at Washington County Hospital a day after she attempted to hang herself with a bed sheet in the Washington County Detention Center, Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said.

He said the woman, whose name was not released, was found at about 1:50 a.m. Tuesday hanging on a swinging door that led to the shower area of a dormitory housing unit at the jail.

The woman was not breathing when she was cut down, Mullendore said. She was revived through cardiopulmonary resuscitation and taken to the hospital.

Mullendore said he believed that four other women who were in the same housing unit at the time of the incident were not involved.


The shower door was just high enough for the woman to make the suicide attempt, he said.

"If someone is intent on committing suicide, they're going to find a means to do that," Mullendore said.

The woman was being held in the jail on $15,000 bond awaiting trial, according to a sheriff's office press release.

Mullendore would not say why the woman was in the detention center because the information could be used to identify her.

Every inmate jailed at the detention center is evaluated to determine whether they might be at risk of committing suicide, Mullendore said. If the evaluation reveals a problem, the inmates are isolated and checked every 15 minutes.

He said the woman's evaluation showed no evidence that she was suicidal.

There have been no female suicides at the Washington County Detention Center since the facility opened in 1984, Mullendore said.

Published reports from The Herald-Mail's archives show that between August and November of 1995, two male inmates committed suicide and two others attempted suicide by hanging themselves from sheets tied to air vent grills. The grills were covered with plates to prevent further suicide attempts.

A third male inmate died during that same period after cutting one of his wrists with a razor blade, The Herald-Mail has reported.

Mullendore said the last suicide at the detention center occurred in 2003, when a male inmate hanged himself.

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