Why are so many people attempting suicide in county jail?

It was troubling to read last week about an inmate at the Sedgwick County Jail who attempted suicide by wrapping a telephone cord around his neck. But it was even more troubling to read that since January 2011, 54 jail inmates have attempted suicide. Does this reflect safety or supervision problems at the jail? Does it reflect how our nation’s jails have often become holding cells for people with mental illnesses? Sedgwick County is currently being sued over the death of a man who hanged himself in a restroom area in the jail. The suit contends that the jail didn’t put the man on suicide watch even though his girlfriend and sister warned that he was a suicide risk.