There has been another suicide in the Guilford County jails, bringing the count to three inmates taking their own lives in a ten-month period – and marking the second jail suicide this month alone.

On Friday evening, Feb. 28, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department reported that, as a result of a suicide attempt in the Guilford County jail in Greensboro, inmate Kent Fulton Gilliland of Julian, age 36, died at Moses Cone Hospital at or around 4:18 p.m.

A preliminary press release stated that the department would not release the inmate’s name until next of kin could be notified, however, another release sent an hour later identified Gilliland by name.

According to the department, “This incident is under investigation and no additional information will be provided to the media until the investigation is complete.” It refers all questions to the Sheriff’s Department’s attorneys.

Alarmingly, this is the third person held in the Guilford County jails to die by suicide in a 10-month period. In May of last year, Joseph William Martin was pronounced dead by hanging in an apparent suicide in the county’s High Point jail. Martin was housed in the general inmate population in a cell by himself.

Earlier this month, Herbert Junior Wilson of High Point, 58, was found hanging in his cell. He died later at Wake Forest Baptist Health High Point Medical Center.

The Guilford County jails have had some challenges in recent years. One of the biggest is that the department has had trouble filling vacancies – especially when it comes to jail staff.  The reason’s often cited for that are low pay, challenging conditions and the fact that younger people are less inclined to go into law enforcement work than they were years ago.  

One of the first things the department’s investigation will no doubt look into is whether guards kept regularly scheduled, legally required, rounds before this incident.