December 9, 2014

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Suicide Prevention in the Jail

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And Today’s Tip deals with suicide prevention in the jail. 

All jail staff members who are responsible for supervising inmates should receive initial and annual training on suicide risk identification, prevention and intervention techniques

It is our responsibility to minimize the incidence of suicide in custody by establishing and maintaining a comprehensive suicide prevention and intervention program. 

There are three key components of any effective suicide prevention program, one-screening upon entry, two-continued evaluation and three-intervention training. 

All inmates should undergo mental health screening during the intake process to assess the inmate’s risk for suicide. 

Some of the risk factors for suicide may include: 

  • Fear of the unknown,
  • No apparent control over their future,
  • Isolation from family and friends,
  • Shame of incarceration or guilt over the offense,
  • Excessive drinking or drug use and  
  • Mental illness.

Some risk factors may be time-triggered including: 

  • The first 24 hours after incarceration. 
  • Still being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Trial sentencing hearings.  
  • Holiday periods, or  
  • Bad news from home or friends. 

All jail staff members who are responsible for supervising inmates should receive initial and annual training on suicide risk identification, prevention and intervention techniques including: 

  • The identification of warning signs and suicide risk factors,
  • Direct observation requirements and suicide watch procedures, 
  • Responding to suicidal and depressed inmates and 
  • Attempted suicide and suicide follow-up and reporting. 

Suicide prevention and intervention programs are intended to reduce the risk of self-inflicted injury or death by providing the tools and training that will allow an emergency response to a suicide, an attempted suicide or an inmate’s unspoken indicators that suicide is being contemplated. 

And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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