Robert Daidone, a prisoner at Maury Correctional Institution in North Carolina was found dead in his cell last Tuesday. The 28-year old makes the state’s 5th prison suicide this year alone. According to The Charlotte Observer, prison authorities are currently investigating Daidone’s death.
Daidone was serving time in the Eastern NC DPS facility for various crimes committed in Wake County, including second-degree murder. State prison records indicate that he was being housed in a unit known as “intensive control” when he took his own life. This unit is typically reserved for disruptive, uncontrollable inmates, and serves as a type of solitary confinement.
Corona Women’s Prison Breaks Suicide Records
Last month, we reported on two suicides at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Corona, CA. What was so interesting about the suicides of 27-year old Shaylene “Blue” Graves and 35-year old Erika Rocha is that they were both set to be released from CIW fairly soon.
According to a Prison Rideshare Network press release:
“In 2015, the suicide rate at CIW was more than eight times the national rate for people in women’s prisons and more than five times the rate for all California prisons.”
But, why are the suicide rates for prison across the country increasing at such fast paces? Many are blaming various processes that require prisoners to serve time in solitary confinement.
Solitary Confinement to Blame for High Prison Suicide Rates
In the case of Robert Daidone’s suicide, he was being housed in such a unit at the time of his suicide. CIW officials have confirmed that both Erika Rocha and Shaylene Graves had been housed in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) prior to them taking their own lives.
Prisoners and prison loved ones are demanding that CIW Warden Kimberly Hughes be held accountable for the conditions that led to their deaths. At the Corona prison for women, many of the inmates suffer from mental health issues of various kinds. However, due to overcrowded conditions, any inmate who asks for mental health services is sent directly to the SHU.
The logic is that they can be observed better until the mental health staff can see them. There’s no logical explanation whatsoever for putting a woman who is depressed or having suicidal thoughts in a cell all alone with nothing to do but stare at concrete walls.
This can only serve as a way to push them over the edge. Warden Hughes just doesn’t seem to care at this point. Ass pointed out in the Prison Rideshare Network’s press release:
“But, extensive research has shown that there are solitary confinement has harmful impacts on mental health. Therefore, the decision to transfer women in crisis to solitary confinement is yet another failure by CIW and the CDCR system. These women need intensive mental health support, not solitary confinement, which can only make matters worse for anyone in mental crisis.”
Help Bring a Stop to Prison Suicides
So far, in 2016 alone, five or more prisoners within the NC DPS system have committed suicide. In 2015, only three prison suicides were reported in North Carolina state prisons. Up until 2015, there had been 68 prison suicides reported in the last 25 years of NC DPS operations. That’s an average of about 2.7 inmate suicides per year.
How can you help decrease the prison suicide rate here in America? Well, it’s been proven time and time again that prisoners who receive regular visits from loved ones are more likely to do their time without suicide attempts. They also tend to have lower return rates.
Interested in visiting your incarcerated loved one, but just can’t seem to find a ride to prison? Prison Rideshare Network helps connect you to others in your area who visit your loved one’s prison. Join the PRN Carpool Program and start finding your prison carpool partners for reliable rides to prisons today.
Is there a high suicide rate at your loved one’s prison? Are these SHU-related prison suicides starting to worry you? Share your take on inmate suicides with us in the comments below.