By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Last week, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed the death of a corrections officer at the Gib Lewis Unit in Woodville.
A TDCJ spokesperson, Amanda Hernandez, said the agency is investigating the officer’s death, which occurred Monday, June 27. The cause of death was due to a self-inflicted injury, as sources indicate.
A name was not revealed of the deceased. The Office of Inspector General is also part of the investigation.
Incidents of suicide among corrections workers is greater than most other occupations, according to the National Institute of Corrections, which operates under the federal DOJ.
In 2019, 13 cases of suicide among correctional officers were reported, for the highest total ever, according to the head of their union, a report stated.
For years, U.S. Bureau of Prisons officials have called for an increase in staffing to match the rising incarceration rates. Staffing shortfalls is one stress factor that experts have said could contribute to suicide among corrections officers, but there is no data to support the claim.
According to the TDCJ website, Gib Lewis, which opened in 1990, houses up to 2,232 inmates and employs a staff of 570.