News

Commissioner: prison staff met with inmate 10 minutes before he was found dead

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 4, 2017 2:53 PM
cumberland_county_prison.jpg

FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Harrisburg) -- Medical staff at a midstate prison met with an inmate just ten minutes before he was found dead Tuesday.

But Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste says Robert Wayne Goshorn gave no indication he was planning to kill himself.

Haste, who is also head of the county prison board, says the 45-year-old Goshorn talked with medical staff earlier Tuesday morning, and asked to meet with a psychiatrist.

But that meeting never happened.

Haste says staff found Goshorn dead, just ten minutes later.

"There was some indication that he needed to talk to someone. There was no indication that anything was immediate. There was no indication that he was going to harm himself soon. He just expressed a concern and wanted to talk," says Haste.

He says staff tried to resuscitate the inmate, but could not.

"You have to learn from what happened so you can stay ahead of the next one. One thing, I credit our staff, we've saved many many lives out there. Our staff is actually pretty good at that. It hurts everybody when one slips through the cracks," he adds.

Haste says specialists in suicide prevention visited the prison within the last year, and the warden acted on their advice, including welding some holes shut to prevent inmates from harming themselves.

An investigation is underway, and autopsy results are expected soon.

Goshorn had been in the prison since last June, when he was charged with nine counts of child porn and other crimes.

Haste says the suicide is the first one at the facility in recent memory.

In Lancaster County, reports show five inmates killed themselves at the prison between April 2014 and February 2015.

This story has been updated to reflect that the Dauphin County Prison has had deaths at the prison in recent years, but not suicides.

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