Vt. officials: prisons see more suicide attempts
on rise in Vt. jails
MONTPELIER — Suicide attempts in Vermont prisons have increased, said officials from the state Department of Corrections.
The comment came during a hearing of a legislative oversight committee that focused on prisoner mental health.
The meeting followed the death of Robert Mossey, 38, died who hanged himself in a mop closet late last month at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport.
Mossey’s step-father, Todd Jimmo, a former corrections officer, said under-staffing at the prison could be part of the problem.
“You can’t prevent everything. But had the staffing been better it probably would have been less likely,” said Jimmo. “From what I’m understanding the unit officer was really busy and knowing inmates the way I do, they tend to get in there and they learn your habits and when is the best time to pull something off that they’re not supposed to do.”
Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said Mossey’s was the first suicide within the system in nine years, Vermont Public Radio reported.
Prisoners are at a greater risk of suicide than the general population, said Dr. Delores Burroughs-Biron, the health services director for the Department of Corrections.
“It is the despair, the sense of hopelessness that comes about as a result of being incarcerated. And for some people, time and time again, they are incarcerated,” Burroughs-Biron said.