Weber County Jail inmate dies after apparent suicide

Tuesday , June 05, 2018 - 1:20 PM3 comments

OGDEN — A Weber County Jail inmate was found hanging in his cell May 31 and died of the injuries in a local hospital on Monday, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday in a press release.

Casey James Berensen, 44, was found during a routine check, had no pulse and was not breathing, the release said. Jail personnel and paramedics were able to recover a pulse and he was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

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Berensen had been checked 13 minutes before he was found and “did not appear to be in crisis” or indicate he needed anything, the release said.

The incident was considered to be a suicide and is under investigation. Lt. Joshua Marigoni, sheriff’s office corrections division spokesman, said no other information will be available until the investigation concludes.

Berensen was booked into the jail on May 1, 2018, according to online booking reports.

Marigoni said Berensen was being held for the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Federal court records show Berensen was indicted in November 2017 on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.

A series of deaths in Northern Utah county jails in 2016 drew media attention, criticism from civil liberties groups and lawsuits accusing jails of negligence in providing medical care, suicide prevention, and mental health services to inmates, many of them pre-trial detainees.

Federal data shows Utah has led the nation in per-capita deaths in county jails. The Standard-Examiner’s gathering of records from Utah’s 29 counties revealed there were at least 24 deaths in 2016, including six in Davis County. A similar survey this year showed 7 jail deaths were reported statewide in 2017.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Disability Law Center in late May sued Davis County and the Utah State Records Committee, alleging documents of Utah jail standards and inspection reports have been improperly withheld.

The Records Committee in April upheld Davis County’s refusal to release the records. The county said standards and inspection documents are not owned by the county, but rather by a private contractor, and therefore are not subject to state records laws.

“Even if there were some basis to classify the records as protected, the legitimate public interest in the standards that govern Utah’s jails is significant, and outweighs any interest in secrecy,” the civil liberties groups said in their 2nd District Court lawsuit.


 

 NEED HELP? 

Those thinking of harming themselves have several resources available:

Davis Behavioral Health 24-Hour Crisis Response Line, 801-773-7060

National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255

National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah, 801-323-9900

Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah, 801-399-1600

Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital Behavioral Health, 801-387-5600

Davis Hospital: Behavioral Health Unit and Emergency Room, 801-807-1000

Lakeview Hospital: Behavioral Health Unit and Emergency Room, 801-299-2200

Live Hannah’s Hope: Empowering Youth National Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741-741 to be able to text with a trained crisis counselor.

Weber Human Services 801-625-3700


 

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEmarkshenefelt.

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