4 inmates have died in custody in Guilford County this year — the most of any county in the Triad

Piedmont Triad News

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — For the fourth time in a year, an inmate at the Guilford County Detention Center has died.

The sheriff’s office confirmed Tyquan Easton, 29, passed away. 

At this time, it is unclear how he died.  

Easton had been in custody for more than two weeks on a $500 bond after being accused of crashing into a patrol vehicle.  

Guilford County currently has the highest number of inmate deaths this year, compared to any other county in the Piedmont Triad. 

There has been one inmate death in Forsyth County, two in Alamance County and none in Randolph County.

Mecklenburg County has had one suicide – and three medical emergencies. 

An investigation into Easton’s death is still underway

Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers said Easton was not on suicide watch.

The sheriff said the reason for the high inmate death numbers falls on inadequate staffing and the inability to help inmates dealing with mental health issues.  

“the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office is a detention center, not a mental health hospital,” Rogers said.

Each year 19,000 inmates cycle through two detention centers in Guilford County.  

This year, three of those inmates died in High Point. Easton died in Greensboro.  

Two deaths were ruled suicides. The causes of the other two are unknown.  

“People who make the decision, a lot of the time the decision is made. It’s there, you just have to do the best you can to keep an eye on them,” Rogers said.

In June – there were more than 40 openings with the sheriff’s office.  

Some of those were at the detention center.  

Rogers said in addition to being short-staffed, the detention center is seeing more inmates than ever before.

“Detention centers have become and hub for the mental health crisis. Where the state and the federal government reduced the funding. We got people incarcerated, dealing with mental health issues – who should not be there,” he said.

It’s not just a shortage of detention officers, but nurses on staff too.   

“we’re working right now to try and renegotiate contracts so they can pay more money and get more nurses in here,” said Chief Deputy Steve Parr, of Detention Court Services.

Before being booked, each inmate goes through a medical evaluation.  

If there are any issues, they are put into a different area to get them the help they need.  

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