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Concerns continue with more suicides at Bristol County, Massachusetts correctional facilities



While there had been a downward trend in recent years, three suicides at the Bristol County House of Correction in 2021 have renewed concerns.

In 2019, the Massachusetts State Auditor released an audit of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office. Among the concerns was a high suicide rate compared to other prisons in the state.

The audit determined that the BCSO experienced five inmate suicides: four in 2016 and one in 2017. BCSO’s inmate population also experienced four unsuccessful suicide attempts in 2016, two in 2017, and none in the first half of 2018. Despite the high numbers compared to other Massachusetts Sheriff Departments, suicides were on a downward trend. Recently, however, that trend has changed.

Courtesy of the state of Massachusetts

Two suicides were reported in 2019, a Fall River woman at the Bristol County House of Correction, and a man at the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford.

This year, a 35-year-old inmate took his life at the Bristol County House of Correction at the end of August. In late September, a man in the facility also died. At the end of October, a Swansea woman hung herself, according to WBSM.

It has been confirmed that at least a few of the inmates who recently committed suicide gave no indication they were suicidal, but the trend, however, is still troubling.

In an article involving the Swansea woman’s suicide, Hodgson stated that the BCHC conducts a mental health screening for every inmate. Those who are believed to be at risk are put on suicide watch.

Despite Bristol County seeing a higher suicide rate than other counties in Massachusetts, Prison Legal News stated in April of this year that Massachusetts data is consistent with the trend that is taking place across the country. Between 2006 and 2016, 62 prisoners died by suicide in Massachusetts county jails. 3 jail suicides occurred in 2018. No official numbers have been published for 2019 to the present day.

jail prison capacity

Courtesy of the state of Massachusetts

The Bristol County House of Correction is notorious for being over capacity as it is currently the only correctional facility in the state to be over 100% (178%), but it is unclear how much that has played a role.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. MmmBop

    December 2, 2021 at 9:27 am

    It’s so bad everyone wants out. The inmates and the officers. Ask about their recent turnover the last couple years.

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