A Pickens County inmate was found dead early Saturday hanging from a bed sheet inside his cell, authorities said.
Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said a detention center officer located the inmate at 2:10 a.m. inside a bathroom.
Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and the 34-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
The inmate was being housed in what used to be an arraignment room where judges set bond. The room had been converted into a makeshift cell due to overcrowding at the detention center, Hashe said.
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With a current population of 208 — more than double the maximum rated capacity — "we're having to be pretty creative in where we're putting people," Hashe said. "There's just no room."
The State Law Enforcement Division has been asked to conduct an independent investigation into the inmate's death, which is a Sheriff's Office policy any time a death occurs inside the jail.
Hashe said the inmate had been detained since June 29 on multiple charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The arrest was made by Easley police.
There had been no indication he was depressed or suicidal, Hashe said.
He said an officer last made contact with the inmate just after midnight and that nothing seemed amiss.
Four detention officers were on-duty at the time of the incident while a fifth officer was at the hospital guarding an inmate receiving health care, Hashe said.
The detention center, which holds short-term offenders and prisoners awaiting trial, typically sees a daily population of at least 200, Hashe said.
Consultants from the National Institute of Corrections, a division of the U.S. Justice Department, toured the county jail last November and concluded that overcrowding was raising the stress levels of both the inmates and staff.
Although there have been no serious violent incidents, the reviewers said, it's "an event waiting to happen."
Staff writer Ron Barnett contributed to this report.