LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. — For the third time since October, an inmate at the Cattaraugus County Jail has apparently committed suicide.
Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb said it is believed that an inmate committed suicide at the jail late last Wednesday morning. He said the inmate was found unresponsive in his cell. The sheriff said he couldn’t offer any other information about the deceased prisoner until an investigation into the death is completed.
He said his department, along with the county District Attorney’s Office, is investigating the death of the inmate. The family of the deceased was notified.
In addition, the sheriff said there are individuals who are being counseled on the matter.
“When this type of incident occurs, we have to help with the family and their loss,” said the sheriff. “We also have to take care of our own personnel who are suffering from trauma as a result of this incident.”
This was the third inmate suicide since October, when a prisoner was found unresponsive in his cell. In January, an inmate hanged himself.
Whitcomb said in January, following the Jan. 15 inmate suicide, that his department follows the state Department of Corrections procedures on inmate safety. He said the protocols include corrections officers conducting bed checks at frequent, but irregular, intervals.
“Inmates couldn’t be sure when the next bed check would occur. The only sure thing was that it would be within 30 minutes or less, which unfortunately, can be enough time for someone determined to take their own life,” he said in January.
He said the latest suicide investigation will include a review of time checks to ensure they were done appropriately, and an external probe will follow the internal investigation.
District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman declined to comment.