By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A Havre man is in critical condition at a Great Falls hospital after attempting suicide Monday in the Hill County Detention Center.
Sheriff Greg Szudera said Steven Borris, 20, attempted suicide with a "choking maneuver." Szudera declined to give details about the attempt, saying he won't while the incident is under investigation.
A Havre ambulance was dispatched to the jail and transported Borris to Northern Montana Hospital, Szudera said.
He said prisoners are checked every half-hour at the jail. Borris had been checked 10 minutes before a staffer who was serving lunch to the prisoners discovered him, the sheriff said.
The staffer performed cardiopulmontary resuscitation, he said.
"The detention officer saved his life," Szudera added.
Borris had not been classified as a suicide risk, Szudera said.
"He didn't (show) any signs or give any indication he was having a problem," Szudera said.
Borris was arrested Saturday morning. Police received a call because the guardian of a minor child suspected that Borris and the girl had had sexual relations, Havre Assistant Police Chief George Tate said today. Borris was arrested on charges of sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children, and on Justice or City Court warrants, Tate said.
He said the sexual assault charge was dropped after Borris and the juvenile girl both said there had been sexual contact, but that it was consensual and there was not sexual penetration.
Tate said sexual contact without penetration with a consenting minor 14 or older is legal in Montana.
Borris was arrested on a charge of endangering the welfare of children after both he and the girl said they had been drinking alcohol together, Tate said. The Havre City Court warrants are for traffic offenses and for failing to appear on an assault charge, Tate said. Borris also had a Cascade County District Court warrant for failure to appear on a robbery charge, the assistant chief said.
Szudera, who has been sheriff since December 2001, said he doesn't know the last time a suicide was attempted in the Hill County jail.
Undersheriff Don Brostrum said there have been suicide threats but no attempts since the detention center opened in September 1999.
Former Sheriff Tim Solomon said there had been attempted suicides in the old facility.
The suicide attempt comes as the state prison in Deer Lodge announced plans to reduce the potential for inmate suicide, including removing things that could be used in a suicide attempt like shoelaces and strings from laundry bags, and replacing bedding with material that is more tear-resistant. The measures include training the staff to better spot signs that an inmate may be suicidal, and increasing night checks from once an hour to once every half-hour. The proposals come after a series of recommendations were made earlier this year by a national suicide expert who visited the state prison following the deaths of four inmates in less than six months.
Szudera, who is in charge of the county detention center, said he has no plans to change the procedures there.
"That's standard operating procedure throughout the state of Montana," he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.