Spike in suicides in El Paso County jail highlights shortfalls of mental health care for those behind bars

April 3, 2021

By: Olica Prentzel

Article originally found in The Gazette

After a 33-year-old man took his life last week while incarcerated at the El Paso County jail, the number of suicides in the facility since 2019 rose to five, after nearly a decade when none were reported.

Their deaths come as suicides remain as the No. 1 cause of death in jails nationwide and as the El Paso County jail juggled mental health providers after a report found “critical shortfalls” in the jail’s former health care contractor. After making the switch to a new contractor, three more suicide have been reported.

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