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Reality Training: Inmate ‘jail jumps’ down flight of stairs

By C1 Staff

The video from the Huron County Jail shows inmate David Moser, 36, first appearing to visit with other inmates before jumping from the top of the mezzanine stairs to the floor below. It is unclear why Moser chose to jump from the stairs and if he was intentionally trying to injure himself but officials said he was treated and released for undisclosed injuries.

This video exemplifies the unpredictability of the individuals housed in our jails and prisons. While we are unable to always prevent situations like this one from occurring, this video should serve as a reminder of the erratic and bizarre behaviors that inmates are capable of.

Factors such as mental illness, immaturity and developmental disabilities or any combination of those can further contribute to erratic and unpredictable behaviors.

This video also highlights the importance of proper monitoring and classification of offenders in an effort to try and identify mental health issues or potential self-injurious behavior.

Corrections officials should still remember to ensure that inmates are to be held accountable for their actions. Disciplinary reports citing self-inflicted injury serve as an example for other inmates who may be thinking of attempting similar types of stunts whether trying for early release, for litigation purposes, or simply for showing off for friends.

Most of all, staff need to remember to expect the unexpected. Because we can’t rely on our abilities to read people, and because of the obvious unpredictable nature of the inmate population it is imperative that staff always be vigilant and expect the unexpected as their safety may depend on it.

Discussion questions:

What if anything could be done to prevent this from occurring?

Should inmates be held accountable for self-injurious behavior?

Where there adequate staff present in this situation? Could having additional staff available prevented this occurrence? Can staffing numbers impact the likelihood of similar types of situations from occurring?

This series of columns takes recent situations in the news and uses video footage to start a discussion.