April 02, 2020

Inmate identified in hanging probe

WARREN – The Department of Corrections expects to complete sometime next week an investigation into the Oct. 5 hanging of an inmate in a special management unit cell, according to an official.

Associate Commissioner Denise Lord said Wednesday the inmate found hanging from a bedsheet tied to a sprinkler head last week was 25-year-old Ryan Rideout. Rideout was born in Augusta, but his last known address was Presque Isle, Maine State Prison Warden Jeffrey Merrill said Wednesday.

Rideout had been serving a 17-month sentence at Maine State Prison for multiple burglaries and criminal mischief, Merrill has said.

The prisoner was housed in a single cell in the special management unit, where he was placed because he was classified as a high-risk inmate based on his institutional behavior, Merrill said. Rideout was not on a suicide watch, the warden said, but he was on a 30-minute check status because of his classification.

At about 11 p.m., the prisoner was fine when staff made rounds, Merrill said. At 11:31 p.m., the inmate was found hanging.

Staff attempted CPR immediately and was assisted by a medical team, but Rideout was pronounced dead at the prison.

“It’s being investigated by state police,” Lord said, noting that the probe should be completed next week. Until the medical examiner’s findings and the state police investigation are concluded, the death is being treated as an “apparent suicide,” she said.

This is the second time since the new prison opened in 2002 in Warren that there has been a suicide, Merrill said last week.

A mental health team met with staff and prisoners to help deal with the stresses associated with such tragedies.

Correction: This article ran on page C4 in the Coastal and Final editions.

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