Eye On Boise

Idaho women's prison sees second inmate suicide in two years

An inmate at Idaho's Pocatello Women's Correctional Center apparently committed suicide yesterday; 51-year-old Cindy R. Jones was found hanging in a shower area at the women's prison at 4:38 p.m., and paramedics were unable to resuscitate her. It was the second suicide in two years at the women's prison; the last was in November of 2011. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said since 2006, seven inmates have committed suicide in Idaho state prison facilities; three more Idaho state prison inmates committed suicide while being held in private prisons or county jails.

Ray said from January 2006 to June 2012, the prison system has had a far higher number of "suicide events," defined as when prison staff place an inmate on suicide watch after the inmate threatens to kill him or herself: There were 3,909 such "events." Said Ray, "All IDOC correctional officers undergo suicide prevention training when they join the department and receive refresher courses annually."

The previous suicide at the women's prison came when Cheryl Ann Spellmeyer, 48, was found unconscious in her cell in 2011 with an apparent self-inflicted ligature mark around her neck; she was serving time for robbery, forgery and DUI in Twin Falls County and would have been eligible for parole less than a year after her death.

Jones was serving up to 20 years in prison for 2nd degree kidnapping, aggravated assault and illegal possession of a weapon in Ada County; she was scheduled to be released on July 22, 2018. The state prison system has asked the Idaho State Police to assist in investigating her death.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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