Cook County Sheriff’s office report that on Monday August 26, 2013 at approximately 9:00 a.m., a Cook County Jail detainee – 45-year-old Ricardo Diaz – attempted suicide. Mr. Diaz was received at the jail on August 21st after having been arrested for armed robbery by the Chicago Police Department on August 20th. Upon finding him unresponsive, officers immediately transported him to a local hospital, where he remained in critical condition. At approximately 6:15 p.m. on August 27, Diaz was pronounced deceased. There is no evidence of foul play.
The Cook County Jail is operating at near capacity with a rapidly growing population of mentally ill detainees, many of whom previously received treatment in shuttered mental health facilities. Managing the jail’s mental health population presents tremendous challenges to a correctional facility that was never envisioned to operate as a mental health hospital. However, given this responsibility, the Sheriff’s office is unique in providing advanced mental health training to correctional officers, including training on how to identify suicidal detainees.
Mr. Diaz’s death marks the fourth suicide of the year at Cook County Jail, a rate far below the national jail suicide rate.
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