A Suicide In Prison

Times-Picayune archive
An Orleans Parish Prison inmate committed suicide Sunday night despite being on a 24-hour suicide watch, Sheriff Marlin Gusman said Monday.

Individuals who are coping with mental Illness are in need of treatment not incarceration and isolation. Isolation can lead to suicide.That is what happened to William Goetzee, Coast Guard officer who was locked up and not properly supervised. He committed suicide in a New Orleans prison.

Among the areas that the Justice Department has focused on are “shockingly high rates” of violence, as well as suicide prevention measures that are “grossly inadequate” and have most likely resulted in multiple suicides (there have been at least 37 deaths at the jail, including 6 suicides, since January 2006, according to coroners’ reports compiled in a separate lawsuit against the jail). One of the cases cited in the Justice Department report was an unnamed 48-year-old man whose suicide in August 2011 was an “egregious example” of the jail’s inadequacies.

Article in New York Times:

William Goetzee, a Coast Guard officer in New Orleans whose life was intertwined with the city’s ordeals, committed suicide in 2011 in the notorious Orleans Parish Prison.

Also from the Times:

William Widmer for The New York Times
Commander Goetzee, a Coast Guard reservist, died in jail in 2011.


And finally, there’s this from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:


William Goetzee, 48, was arrested Aug. 2 outside federal court after he tried to snatch a gun from a federal security officer. During the attempt to get the gun, he told the officer he wanted to kill himself.

1980-2003 timeline graph of suicide rate in US...
1980-2003 timeline graph of suicide rate in US prisons and jails. For more info: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/shsplj.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This graph shows comparative rates of suicides between county jails and U.S. prisons.

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