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Sheriff's office discusses safety after inmate's death - KOAM TV 7

Sheriff's office discusses safety after inmate's death

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The Jasper County Sheriff's Office says preliminary investigations show no jailer or jail staff member was at fault for the death of an inmate yesterday.

Court records show Cody Ennis was arrested in 2011 by Joplin police and charged with felony sexual assault.  Jasper County police say they received Ennis in July of this year from a prison near Columbia, Missouri.

Captain Derek Walrod with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office says there was no indication Ennis was ever suicidal.  "Not that I'm aware of," says Walrod.  "I've talked to the investigators, I've talked to jail staff, and at this point, there was no indication that this was going to happen."

21-year-old Ennis was found dead early yesterday morning in his jail cell.  Jailers say Ennis died from apparent suicide.  It's something that hasn't happened at the county jail since 2010.

Walrod says Ennis never had any altercations with Jasper County jail workers.

The sheriff's office isn't releasing details of how Ennis died, but say he had a cell all to himself.

"Generally, they have a bed, a mattress, a sink, and a toilet.  Bed sheets, a blanket.  Just the basic needs," says Walrod.

The sheriff's office says jailers have both random and set walk-in checks with prisoners.  But the sheriff's office isn't saying yet when Ennis was last checked on, because investigations into his death are still ongoing.  

Police say prisoners are asked a series of questions about their mental state when they're booked.  There's also counselors checking on a prisoner's state of mind during their stay.  Jailers have to be trained every year in suicide prevention.

"We can't have cameras in the cells...because they're getting undressed.  But we do have cameras outside.  Almost every place in here is seen by video," says Walrod.

Ennis' body was scheduled for an autopsy in Kansas City on the same day he died, but preliminary results have not yet been released.

To learn more about the 2010 suicide at the Jasper County jail, click here

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