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Wyoming Inmate Dies In Mississippi, Second Apparent Suicide In 2019

photo from dlrgroup.com with changes by Tennessee Watson

Already this year, two Wyoming inmates have died from apparent suicide. The incidents have raised questions about the impact of staffing and bed shortages.

John Manuel Garcia, a 24-year-old inmate at the medium security facility in Torrington, died in January. And on February 9th Charles Edward Jones died at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Mississippi. The Wyoming Department of Corrections has contracted with the Mississippi facility to house 89 Wyoming inmates due to overcrowding.

Wyoming Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Mark Horan said both incidents are under investigation.

"With any major incident we do what's called a serious incident review," said Horan. "We look at were our protocols followed, was policy followed in dealing with the situation?"

Horan said that includes examining the circumstances leading up to the suicide, as well as the response.

"If there's any need to change anything or to make improvements, we can certainly do that," he added.

Horan said since January 1, 2014 a total of six inmates have died of apparent suicide.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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