COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A third Cobb County inmate has died in jail this month, the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
Nicole Smith, a detainee from Atlanta, died at the hospital around 8 a.m. Jail officials said Smith was on active suicide watch and attempted to take her own life during the mandatory round-the-clock welfare checks, which are conducted by employees every 15 minutes.
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“When she was found, personnel commenced life-saving procedures, and she was transported to a local hospital, where she was later pronounced,” jail officials said. “Ms. Smith was receiving professional mental health support under a program specializing in suicide prevention.”
This is the third inmate death in a Cobb County jail in two weeks. Joshua Capes, 47, died after being found unresponsive in his jail cell on May 3. Deputies were able to revive Capes and he was rushed to the hospital, but later died. His cause of death has not been released.
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Inmate Eva Kanja, 28, died while she was undergoing a mental health evaluation on May 12. Her cause of death has not been released.
The Cobb County sheriff’s office is the first in the state to offer 24-hour mental health care to jail detainees, according to a news release.
“Unfortunately, our detention center––and thousands of detention centers across the country––have become de facto mental health hospitals,” said Sheriff Owens. “I will be convening local leaders, including those who just toured the facility, to help identify solutions and hopefully find treatment options outside of incarceration.”
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The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office said it will soon roll out new technology that tracks detainees’ vitals and enables staff to monitor their health in real time.
Earlier this week, a WSB-TV news crew and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were given an inside look at conditions of the jail. Cobb officials said they wanted to be transparent and show that conditions at the jail are not inhumane, as was claimed by lawyers for Young Thug.
The rapper is currently being held after he was arrested on gang charges earlier this month.
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