PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — At the Portsmouth jail last week, a life was saved when preparation met opportunity.
Up on the fifth floor, an inmate who wasn’t charged with a violent crime wanted to do violence to himself.
Sheriff Michael Moore described the situation.
“That inmate was trying to take his own life (by) strangulation.”
A deputy making his normal rounds found the man alone in his cell, unconscious and unresponsive, and that jailer was about to call upon some knowledge he had recently gained for just such a situation.
“Jail staff just recently went through a medical procedure, medical training for suicide prevention,” Moore said during a Tuesday interview.
Sheriff Moore says the deputy’s training helped to save the inmate’s life this time, but he knows there’ll be more incidents like this one.
“Unfortunately at this day and time the mental health issue is a huge, huge problem.”
The inmate was transported to the hospital for further care, alive, because of an alert deputy on his rounds.
Moore says in a perfect world, jail staff would be able to discover potential suicides before they happen.
“A lot of times if you really take the time to stop and talk to them, you can realize or information can be passed on that maybe they are in a crisis situation.”
Moore says the suicide intervention training will be ongoing, and his staff will go through an update course later this year.