Inmate rushed to hospital after attempting to hang himself

San Diego Central Jail

SAN DIEGO — An inmate tried to commit suicide by hanging himself in his cell at San Diego Central Jail last weekend, authorities reported Wednesday.

Detentions deputies conducting a security check found the 52-year-old prisoner hanging and unresponsive shortly after 6:30 p.m. Saturday, sheriff’s Lt. Michael Blevins said.

On-site medical staff performed CPR on the stricken inmate until paramedics arrived, took over the lifesaving efforts and transported him to a trauma center.

The man remained hospitalized Wednesday morning. His name and condition were not released.

The inmate, who was housed by himself in a medical observation cell at the time of the hanging, had spoken to a nurse about a half-hour earlier, and a deputy had checked on him less than 10 minutes after the medical staffer’s visit, Blevins said.

“No issues were noted at either time,” he said.

The inmate had been jailed on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and being under the influence of a controlled substance. It was unclear why he was in medical observation status while in the downtown lockup facility.

The man was arrested by San Diego police and booked into jail last Wednesday, according to Blevins. The lieutenant said he could disclose no details on how the hanging occurred, or whether the inmate was on suicide watch at the time.

Last month, a state advocacy agency released a report decrying a “shocking” suicide rate at San Diego-area jails.

More than 30 inmates have taken their own lives at area detention centers since 2010, a frequency that “far outpaces other county jail systems in the state,” according to the study by Disability Rights California.

The organization urged San Diego County officials to institute a number of policy and training changes to address the issue.

For its part, the county Sheriff’s Department, which runs the region’s seven jails, called the findings “misleading” and based on “a fundamentally flawed approach in comparing suicide data from different jail systems.”

If you or someone you know needs help, the suicide crisis hotline number is 888-724-7240.