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Jail suicide trend nearly reaches Hill County


Emergency medical responders, Hill County Detention Center staff and some of the inmates all worked quickly on Saturday evening to help prevent a possible addition to an alarmingly growing problem in Montana — inmate suicides.

According to Sheriff Don Brostrom, some inmates in the detention center's female housing area had expressed concern about another inmate who "hadn't been acting like herself. "

Less than five minutes after talking to her, the concerned inmates found her having tried to hang herself.

Some inmates began banging on the doors to get the staff's attention.

Others took her down and began performing CPR until an ambulance was able to reach the facility and take the inmate to Northern Montana Hospital.

The inmate was held and treated overnight, on a suicide watch, until she was released to Cascade County law enforcement, for whom she was being held.

That possible tragedy was averted by the vigilance of the other inmates and the quick response of the staff, but, in Montana, many are not that lucky.

A 22-year-old inmate in the Cascade County jail, just last Wednesday, was found unresponsive in what the jail staff has classified as a probable suicide.

Cascade County Coroner Micky Nelson told the Great Falls Tribune that "evidence points right now that it is potentially a drug overdose. "

The week before that, a 27-year-old woman held in the Missoula County Jail hanged herself, upset at the possibility of losing her children.

The Missoulian, over the weekend, printed a large story detailing the problem and recent efforts to do something about it.

According to the Missoulian, Montana's county jails see five times as many suicides as the national average.

The article also explains a number of studies, resolutions and bills at the state level over the past few years that have attempted to help stop the problem, with almost no success.


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