Shackles, depression, 100 days in solitary: Records shed light on NC prison suicides

  • In US
  • 2022-10-03 10:00:00Z
  • By Charlotte Observer

Nine North Carolina inmates have died by suicide so far in 2022 - an unusually large number. Four deaths happened inside Bertie Correctional Institution, a short-staffed maximum-security prison in eastern North Carolina.

Authorities are still investigating some of the deaths. But autopsies, medical examiner reports and other records shine light on five. Here's what the records show:

Henry Bost, 40, died May 4 at Bertie Correctional Institution.

Bost was in solitary confinement for more than 100 days before he was found hanging in his cell, according to a medical examiner's report. He had asked for protective custody - a form of solitary confinement - because he owed money to other inmates but was not able to repay them. He was also dealing with anxiety from being assaulted at another prison last year, the medical examiner's report says.

Henry Bost
Henry Bost  

Prison staff members said he'd expressed feelings of depression but was not on medications. He refused to attend a scheduled mental health session about a week before his death. When a staff member asked him about that, he said he was not feeling suicidal, but was "having a bad day," the medical examiner's report said.

Bost was serving a 10-year sentence for robberies committed in Mecklenburg County and was scheduled to be released next year.

Jeffrey Allen Jacobs, 43, died Jan. 19 at Bertie Correctional Institution.

Jacobs was found seated on a toilet, fully clothed and hanging from strips of a sheet that had been tied to an air vent, his autopsy report says. Staff members at the prison cut the sheet, put shackles on his feet and carried him down a flight of stairs to a hallway to perform CPR, according to a medical examiner's report.

Jeffrey Jacobs
Jeffrey Jacobs  

Why staff members at the prison shackled Jacobs - and didn't perform CPR in his cell instead of carrying him downstairs - is unclear. An associate warden at the prison said he was not authorized to speak to the media. And a state prison spokesman said officials will not discuss the cases of those who died.

Jacobs had been in "restrictive housing" - the prison system's term for solitary confinement - when he died, state records show.

Family members said Jacobs had talked about feeling tired, but not about wanting to take his own life.

He was serving a life sentence for a murder committed in Johnston County.

Marcus Robinson, 49, died June 9 at Scotland Correctional Institution.

Shortly after noon, officers at the prison in Laurinburg found Robinson hanging by a sheet. They also found a homemade knife and a two-page suicide note near Robinson's body. Medical examiners discovered multiple cuts on his left forearm.

He was classified as "Mental Health Grade 3," the most severe psychiatric classification, due to depression and schizophrenia, according to the medical examiner report. He was on multiple psychiatric medications.

Marcus Reymond Robinson
Marcus Reymond Robinson  

Robinson was serving a life sentence for a murder committed in 1994 in Cumberland County.

Dontavian Bartee, 24, died Jan. 1 Bertie Correctional Institution.

Bartee was last seen alive at 4:50 am when prison staff checked his cell, according to an autopsy report. Two hours later he was found hanging. Several suicide notes were found nearby. Bartee had not previously expressed suicidal thoughts, prison medical staff members said.

Dontavian Bartee
Dontavian Bartee  

He was serving a seven-year sentence for a robbery in Wake County and was scheduled to be released in 2025.

Jacob Green, 69, died April 6 at Piedmont Correctional Institution.

Green was found hanging in his cell, according to an autopsy report. EMS workers were able to restore his circulation before he arrived at the emergency room that afternoon. But he died of cardiac arrest at the hospital. A toxicology analysis found no medications in his system.

Jacob Green
Jacob Green  

He was serving a five-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon after being convicted in Wake County. He was scheduled to be released in 2026.


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