Sheriffs office reviews policies after recent suicides

The Marion County Sheriffs Office has completed a review of jail policies after two inmates committed suicide last month, and changes are coming because of it.

Sheriff Jimmy Shinn said an internal review of suicide watch procedures in the jail showed his staff followed procedure. 

"My staff did exactly what they were supposed to do," said Shinn. "I can’t make the jail, or any other building, completely suicide safe."

On May 15, Charles Whitley attempted to commit suicide inside the jail by hanging himself and died two days later from his injuries, according to Adams County Coroner Jim Keller. 

On May 17, Timothy Brokes committed suicide by hanging himself from a bed sheet, according to Marion County Coroner Richard Jones. 

Shinn said neither individual was on suicide watch or had given any indication of needing to be on watch. He said both men were checked on regularly. 

"The longest they went without being checked on was 43 minutes," said Shinn. 

Shinn said individuals on suicide watch prior to this review had to be cleared by a behavioral specialist before being removed from the watch. He said as a result of the review, individuals on watch must now be cleared by both a behavioral specialist and a medical doctor before being removed from the watch. He said because neither Whitley or Brokes were on suicide watch the policy change would not have made an impact on their situations.

The jail is also adding two more cameras to the booking area as a result of the review, according to Shinn. He said there is currently only one camera in that area with a limited view, but two more cameras will give them coverage of the complete area. Brokes was housed in the holding area of the jail when he committed suicide. 

Shinn said the investigation into the deaths is ongoing by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 

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