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Central Prison Suicides Prompt Review of Procedures

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RALEIGH — For the third time in less than two months, an inmate at Central Prison committed suicide. But sweeping changes are not on the horizon. Administrators will not say they have a problem.

"We can't answer that at this point until we can review everything that has gone on," says Central Prison warden Roby Lee. He plans to take some measures to address the issue.

The prison has begun a review of all offenders admitted to the prison in last three months who have profile that indicates they may need additional mental health treatment. Also, the correctional staff will be reminded of what kinds of inmate behaviors require intervention by the mental health staff.

The latest inmate to commit suicide was Keith Moore, 40, of Wilson, who was charged with killing his ex-wife and girlfriend in September. Moore was found hanging in his cell Thursday.

After arriving at Central Prison in September, he spent five days in its mental health unit because of his previous behavior. He was on suicide watch, but was mixed in with other inmates after denying any suicidal intent.

"When you deny that you want to harm yourself, and you have no attempt against your life, you cannot restrict that person," says mental health director Dr. Beltran Pages.

The Department of Correction says Moore was last seen by officers about five hours before he was found dead.

The Wilson Daily Times reported that the same day Moore's body was found, a friend in Iowa received a letter from Moore indicating that he might end his life.