The comment came during a Monday hearing of a legislative oversight committee that is focused on prisoner mental health.
The hearing came after 38-year-old Robert Mossey died after he hanged himself in a mop closet late last month at the Newport prison.
Mossey's step-father, a former corrections officer, says under-staffing at the Newport facility could be part of the problem.
Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1dEFmLA ) reports Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said Mossey's was the first successful suicide within the system in nine years.
But Dr. Delores Burroughs-Biron, the health services director for the Department of Corrections, says the number of attempts has increased.