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Former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez Found Dead in Prison Cell

What correctional facilities are doing to help stop the inmate suicide epidemic.

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Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his Massachusetts prison cell and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. He was 27 years-old.

According to an official with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Hernandez was found in his cell at around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, hanging from what seemed to be his bed sheets that he had tied to his cell’s window. Authorities tried to revive the former New England Patriots tight end, but he was pronounced dead shortly after finding him.

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Apparently there had been no concern or suspicion that Hernandez was planning on taking his own life. The 27-year-old was housed in the general population unit of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Officials at the Correction Facility said that Hernandez would have been transferred to a mental health unit if there was any concern about his well-being. At this time, no suicide note written by Aaron Hernandez has been found, but the investigation is ongoing.

Aaron Hernandez was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder he committed, shooting Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancée’s sister, over what seemed to be about a spilled drink at the club. Hernandez was acquitted just days ago of the 2012 shootings of two other men in Boston.

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All too often, prisoners who want to commit suicide will find ways in their cells to do it. However, correctional facilities, such as Albany County Correctional Facility, have increased their officer training and have implemented hourly cell checks in order to effectively handle potential suicide cases inside prison.  Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple commented on the subject saying, “Suicide is something that every jail administrator, it’s their worst nightmare. If somebody’s insistent on taking their own life they’re going to figure out a way inside that facility to do it.”

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Inmates undergo enhanced evaluations when they first enter jail, allowing the correctional facility to pinpoint and separate those who may try to take their own life. “They would be seen by a doctor, they would be seen by either a psychiatrist or psychologist and then they’d probably be put on the mental health tier where they’d be under constant supervision,” said Apple. In more severe cases, such as inmates who are on potential suicide watch, officers will literally stand by their cells.

Fortunately for Albany County, suicides in the facilities have gone down fortunately over the last several years, and Sheriff Apple credits this to the expansion of a mental health wing throughout their jails that started in 2012.“It rocks you because, it’s tough on staff, it’s tough on inmates, it’s tough on everybody and again we work hard every day to try to avoid.”

 

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