Massachusetts among highest prison suicide rates in the country

By: News Staff


Twitter: @ABC6

The suicide of Aaron Hernandez while serving a life sentence is raising new awareness of the issue of suicide in local prisons.

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who runs the jail where Aaron Hernandez was housed after his arrest and before his conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd, says staff members are trained to identify troubled inmates and to take immediate action.

Hodgson says the roles of corrections staff has expanded since the 80s when many mental health hospitals closed, which forced jails and prisons to handle an increasing number of mental health cases when they are not necessarily equipped to do so.

“The issue is do we have people appropriately placed here where you need to add more in a setting that’s not really conducive to mental health treatment. Our environment is very different. And it’s difficult for us,” said Sheriff Hodgson.

According to the US Department of Justice, Massachusetts has among the highest inmate suicide rates in the country.

Hodgson says while suicide rates go up and down, they have recently noticed an uptick in suicides at the Bristol County House of Correction.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017