A 32-year-old man being held in a Connecticut prison committed suicide by using a mask distributed to inmates to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state Department of Corrections said.
Daniel Ocasio, of Windsor, Connecticut, was found by a staff member on a bunk in his cell during a routine check at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville at about 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, New York Fox affiliate WNYW reported.
Staff immediately began resuscitation measures before Ocasio was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly before 6 a.m.
A cloth mask given to him by prison officials was tied around Ocasio's neck and the state's Chief Medical Examiner’s office determined he died of strangulation from a suicide, The Associated Press reported.
Ocasio had been arrested on a charge of third-degree burglary and was incarcerated at the prison beginning Aug. 5. He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
State police and prison officials are investigating the death, which according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson, includes a review of the current mask policy, Fox's Waterbury, Connecticut, affiliate WTIC reported.
The Connecticut Post in Norwalk reported a judge ordered Ocasio during his arraignment to receive "mental health attention" while being detained. The judge did not require Ocasio to be on suicide watch, court officials said.
In according with the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Connecticut American Civil Liberties Union against the Department of Corrections, Ocasio was quarantined for 14 days when he entered the prison.
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