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Two Youth Detention Prison Guards Fired After Ignoring Teen Prisoner's Suicide Attempt

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Columbus, Ohio–according to an investigative report by the Associated Press, an Ohio youth prison guard and two others at Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility were fired after ignoring a teen offender’s suicide attempt. The youth apparently attempted to hang himself in his cell using a blanket.

According to a report by the Ohio Department of Youth Services, one of the fired guards saw the 19-year-old youth with the blanket wrapped around his neck. However, instead of attempting to stop him, the guard merely wrote "attempted to hang himself" on the youth’s log file and walked away. Furthermore, a second guard admitted to knowing that the youth was attempting to hurt himself, but walked away from the unit without checking on him. The third guard also admitted to knowing that the youth might have had plans to hurt himself, but did nothing to intervene. The youth offender was turning red and had trouble breathing after the attempt on November 1, but survived.

One of the fired guards, Larin Feuerbacher recently spoke in a telephone interview about the incident. He admitted that he should have sounded an alert of a suicide attempt, rather than simply note the information in the log. However, he also argued that he didn’t think the youth’s attempt was very serious and that he didn’t open the cell door because the youth had a history of manipulating guards by threatening suicide. Feuerbacher maintains that his firing was unjust; nevertheless, Ohio’s youth prison system has struggled with violence for years, including staff-on-offender assaults, fights between youth offenders and assaults on guards by youth offenders.