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Inmate commits suicide at Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden

WBFO News File Photo

An inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden was found hung Wednesday morning in an apparent suicide.

Erie County Sherriff’s Spokesman Scott Zylka confirmed the male inmate was found in a camera-free area of the facility.

An internal investigation into the incident is underway, following a verbal report to the New York State Commission on Corrections.

“A lot of things will be reviewed,” said Zylka. “People will be interviewed…We do anticipate that the Commission on Corrections will come in – which is standard protocol – and follow up with their own investigation after we file a report.”

An unnamed source to The Buffalo News said just prior to hanging himself, the inmate appeared distraught after the conclusion of a phone call. Zylka could not confirm the details of what led to the incident since the investigation is ongoing. He did explain that deputies and corrections officers under the Sheriff’s Office undergo training through Crisis Services to recognize and deal with inmates with emotional problems. He said its why situations like this one are frustrating.

“It becomes devastating to anybody who’s working there and finding this individual, especially when they know they could have helped if they just were able to communicate with the inmate.”

Zylka said contrary to some rhetoric, the incident marks only the second successful suicide attempt in a county detention facility since 2014, when a female inmate took her own life at the downtown holding center.

“According to the U.S. [Department of Justice] Bureau of [Statistics], we are far below the national average for jails in regards to deaths by suicide,” said Zylka.

Zylka could not confirm reports as to the lifesaving measures that were taken to try and save the inmate. He said he’s confident officers at the facility followed established protocols.

Because suicide is involved, the name of the inmate is not being released at this time, pending notification of family and completion of the investigation.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.