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Main entrance gate near administration Building at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

An East Baton Rouge Parish Prison inmate died from suicide Monday, less than two days after being booked into jail and hours after a social worker took him off "mental health observation" protocol, allowing him to wear a cloth jumpsuit, which he used to hang himself.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office confirmed that Shaheed Claiborne, 41, was arrested Saturday when he tried to break into a detox center on South Foster Drive and threatened people inside. His arrest report doesn't address his apparent mental state at the time.

Claiborne was the son of the Rev. Betty Claiborne, the local civil rights activist who died earlier this month.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said Shaheed Claiborne was placed under mental health observation Saturday after a medical intake screening, which includes giving inmates clothing and bedding that can't be used for suicidal purposes. She said a social worker met with him the following morning and determined that protocol could be discontinued, which gave him access to a cloth jumpsuit. 

Claiborne was found hanging in his cell around 3 a.m. Monday and later pronounced dead, Hicks said. 

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Recent attempts to reach his family were unsuccessful.

CorrectHealth, the private company that provides medical care inside the jail, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Claiborne's death marks the first suicide inside the jail since 2017, when two inmates took their lives. One of those deaths resulted in an ongoing lawsuit alleging insufficient psychiatric care. 

East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks, who has long criticized the city's contract with CorrectHealth, said she saw Claiborne just days earlier at his mom's funeral. 

"It's just a tragic situation," she said. "Another life lost. … We all need some answers."

Email Lea Skene at