A chief deputy said the jail’s mission is to ‘preserve all life.’
WARREN — A man charged with abuse of his 8-year-old stepson last summer at his Everett East Road home in Brookfield Township was rescued from an apparent suicide attempt Monday in his cell at the Trumbull County Jail.
Damion C. Wise, 30, has been on suicide watch since he entered the jail last summer, meaning he had to be checked by a corrections officer at least every 10 minutes, and was wearing “suicide gown” and given a “suicide mattress,” jail officials said.
The gown and mattress are specially designed to prevent an inmate from using them to commit suicide because you can’t tie or tear them, said Eric Shay, assistant Trumbull County warden.
But around 7:30 a.m. Monday, a corrections officer looked in Wise’s cell and saw Wise with a makeshift noose around his neck, hanging from an air duct.
Wise made the noose from the string in the seams of the gown, Shay said.
The corrections officer lifted Wise up, alleviating the pressure on his neck and held him there with assistance from other corrections officers until Shay cut down the noose.
Wise was apparently conscious throughout the attempt and suffered only redness around his neck.
Shay said this is the first time any inmate has attempted suicide using the gown, and the manufacturer of the items told jail officials they were not aware of anyone using the items that way.
Wise was given a paper gown after the suicide attempt.
Paper gowns were used before the jail went to the cloth suicide gowns a few years ago, but paper gowns don’t keep inmates as warm as cloth, Shay said.
Wise is charged with eight counts of rape, one count of felonious assault and seven counts of endangering children.
He is accused of committing the offenses against the boy last summer.
Wise was arrested Aug. 22 after a caller told police about the boy’s injuries.
The boy later told police Wise had beaten him with a small baseball bat and his fist, stuck his fingers down the boy’s throat and threatened to maim or kill him.
The boy had black eyes, facial swelling and bruises on his hand, arm, chest, back and stomach, police said.
If convicted on any of the rape charges, Wise could be sent to prison for life. The other charges carry a penalty of up to 44 years in prison.
Wise has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.
The criminal case against him is pending in common pleas court, where officials are awaiting results of an evaluation by a psychiatrist hired to determine whether Wise was sane at the time of the alleged offenses.
Chief Deputy Don Guarino says jail officials have a duty to protect any inmate from hurting or killing himself, no matter what he is charged with.
“Our goal is to preserve all life,” he said.