Sister: Jail should have seen
Inmate who killed self tried suicide last
By Milton J. Valencia
April 16, 2005
WORCESTER— An inmate who killed himself at the
Worcester County Jail and House of Correction last weekend tried
to kill himself six months earlier, when he was first brought to
the facility, a jail official and the man’s sister confirmed
“He had issues. He had a drug problem. He needed help,” Rachel
Binette said, questioning why her brother was not on suicide
Her brother, Ronald G. Binette, 33, who gave authorities addresses
in Worcester, was found Sunday morning hanged from a doorway in a
second-floor bathroom in one of the jail’s modular buildings. The
body was discovered shortly after Mr. Binette was reported missing
during a routine count of prisoners.
Jail officials have said Mr. Binette did not exhibit any behavior
that would lead them to believe he would kill himself. They said
he sought medical help for chest pains Sunday morning, showing
officials he cared about his health.
“All the indications from his interactions with staff that morning
… were he was not someone who was going to kill himself,” jail
Deputy Superintendent Jeffrey Turco said yesterday.
But Mr. Binette had tried to kill himself at least twice before,
most recently in October, when he was first taken to the jail.
Mr. Binette was arrested for disturbing the peace in October, and
was sentenced to the jail in November. Worcester Central District
Court records show he was listed as a suicide risk when he was
Soon after being taken to the jail, he slit his wrists in an
attempt to kill himself, his sister said.
“I think he tried to get help from the jail, but they didn’t
help,” Ms. Binette said.
She said she feared for her brother, who was homeless and had a
drug addiction. Worcester police records show Mr. Binette
attempted to hang himself while he was being booked for an arrest
in 1991, when he was 19 years old.
At one point last year, Ms. Binette said, she became worried about
her brother after a chance encounter with him. She sought a court
order to have police take him into custody because she feared he
would try to kill himself. However, police couldn’t help her
because she had no address for him and couldn’t tell them where to
Ms. Binette said she was notified by jail officials after the
attempted suicide in October, and said her brother sought help.
The jail has several mental health counselors through a private
contractor, Advocates Inc. Jail correction officers are also
trained in suicide prevention and to recognize warning signs.
Mr. Binette was released from the jail March 5 on probation. He
was arrested again April 10 on a warrant for an alleged probation
violation. The warrant had been issued March 11, and a hearing had
been scheduled for May 4.
Two days after his arrest, Mr. Binette killed himself. “He was
only in there for 48 hours,” his sister said.
Mr. Turco, the superintendent, stressed Mr. Binette did not show
any signs he would kill himself, leaving jail officials to believe
he was OK.
At 8:30 Sunday morning, inmates in the medium-security section of
the jail were given a two-hour “yard time” to roam the grounds,
but Mr. Binette instead went to the infirmary, complaining of
He was examined quickly by a nurse, who told him he seemed OK but
she would check on him soon for a full examination. A half-hour
later, she did, and gave him a complete review in the infirmary.
Mr. Binette seemed healthy and declined an offer to stay there for
monitoring, Mr. Turco said. Two hours later, after a count showed
he was missing, Mr. Binette was found, hanged with a sheet.
Mr. Turco said jail officials were aware of Mr. Binette’s past and
said a majority of the inmates in the facility have a history of
mental illness. He said the jail has no resources to put every
such inmate on suicide watch, saying doing so would put hundreds
of the jail’s 1,300-plus inmates on suicide watch each day. He
said the jail makes sure to monitor an inmate’s health, and that
Mr. Binette seemed OK.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette