An internal investigation by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office shows the corrections staff did not violate jail policies in its response to the March suicide of a 26-year-old inmate in a maximum security unit at the county jail, the sheriff said Tuesday.

But Sheriff Kevin Joyce said he would not release the investigative report, citing the advice of the Maine Attorney General’s Office, after the Portland Press Herald made a verbal request for it.

Joyce said personnel considerations and the possibility of a lawsuit by the inmate’s family were grounds to keep the report private, even though no lawsuit has been filed and no jail staff members were disciplined for the incident.

“I ran this by the (attorney general’s) office to make sure, A, if it’s FOAA-able, and they explained that to the extent it’s an internal investigation, everything else is confidential,” Joyce said.

“And there is an attorney who has asked for all of the evidence (to be) frozen. And there could be a lawsuit after that.”

The Press Herald has filed a request for the report under the Maine Freedom of Access Act.

The inmate, Dante Majeroni, was arrested Feb. 15 on domestic violence charges and had been placed in maximum security after trying to contact the victim of the alleged assault by phone.

Majeroni was found unresponsive in his maximum security cell about 10:30 p.m. March 21. Corrections employees began rendering first aid, Joyce said.

Majeroni died seven days later at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

At a press conference following Majeroni’s suicide attempt but before he died, Joyce said corrections officers were checking on Majeroni every 30 minutes, and that his suicide appeared to be timed between those routine checks.

Joyce said Majeroni used a bed sheet tucked into a gap between a waist-high window and some steel bars to hang himself.

It was his second attempt in several weeks since he was arrested in February.

He was placed on suicide watch following the first attempt, but had been cleared of the extra security protocol.

Majeroni had been placed in maximum security as punishment for attempting to contact the alleged victim of the domestic violence during a jailhouse phone call that had been monitored by corrections staff, Joyce said previously.

Majeroni’s mother, Rosanna Natalini, said Majeroni had struggled with mental illness since he was young, and that he did not receive the help he needed while he was in jail.

She also said she questions the findings of the sheriff’s investigation, and that her concerns about her son’s mental health were dismissed for years because she did not have money to pay for better advocates.

“I am not satisfied and I do not believe what they say,” Natalini said.

“You don’t have money, you spend time in jail and die. If you have money, people take care of you. It’s a business.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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