- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

DRAPER, Utah (AP) - A 22-year-old Utah inmate who was convicted of making threats against a judge and had a history of mental illness died Saturday after beating his head on the floor of his cell at the state prison in Draper, state corrections officials said.

Prison guards approached Ryan Allison’s cell about 7:30 a.m. Saturday after they saw him banging his head on the concrete floor, Utah Corrections Department spokeswoman Brooke Adams said. As they prepared to enter the cell, she said Allison dove head first into the ground from a sink/toilet fixture.

Officers tried unsuccessfully to revive him, Adams said in a statement issued Saturday.

The prison notified the Unified Police Department, which is investigating the death, and his body was turned over to the state medical examiner to conduct an autopsy, she said.

Allison was being held alone in a camera-equipped cell in an area of the prison housing mentally ill inmates. He was transferred to the state prison from the Utah State Hospital more than three years ago, Adams said.

Allison originally was sentenced to the hospital after pleading guilty, but mentally ill, to charges of threat or use of a dangerous weapon in a fight and making threats against a judge in September 2010, Adams said

His disruptive behavior at the hospital prompted his transfer to the prison in Draper in April 2011, she said. He was scheduled to be released on May 24, 2015.

The name of the judge Allison threatened and other details of that case were not available Saturday on the state court system’s Web site.

But the 4th District Court judge in Provo who originally committed him to the hospital in November 2010 said in a letter to the state board of pardons and parole in May 2011 his “stay at the hospital did not go well” and that it was necessary to send him to the state prison.

“This is a young man who needs more help than you and I can provide him,” Judge Claudia Laycock wrote to board members.

“Unfortunately, the prison is the last resort for a defendant with his violent and disturbed background,” she said. “He will need highly intensive supervision when placed on parole.”

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