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NCJ Number: 199363 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Assessing Suicide and Risk Behaviors in an Incarcerated American Indian Population: Investigating Culturally Sensitive Risk Assessment Instruments and Procedures in a Border Jail, Final Report
Author(s): Margaret Severson M.S.W; Christine W. Duclos Ph.D.
Corporate Author: University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare
United States of America
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 226
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare
Lawrence, KS 66044-3184
Grant Number: 1999-IJ-CX-0016
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America

University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare
303 Twente Hall
1545 Lilac Lane
Lawrence, KS 66044-3184
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research) ; Test/Measurement
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study determined whether a popular contemporary suicide risk assessment tool is culturally appropriate for use with American Indians admitted into a county jail facility that borders Indian reservations, as well as whether the use of different suicide screening protocols results in a difference in the reliability of detainees' reports of suicide ideation and related risk factors.
Abstract: Two self-report surveys and jail documents were used to ascertain validation data as well as honesty and comfort-level of screening protocols. During the sampling period from October 1999 through January 2000, all new prisoners who gave their informed consent were given a self-report survey after they had been interviewed using the New York Suicide Prevention Screening Guidelines. The sampling period for the second year of research was initiated in October 2000 and continued through May 2001. Additionally, focus groups were convened to review item-level responses to the jail's current risk-assessment tool and to assess process issues. The study found that the prevalence of suicide ideation was the same across Indian and non-Indian groups, a rate lower than anticipated. Validity concordance was low in sensitivity for the suicide risk-assessment screening tool, especially with American Indians. Focus group results suggest the nondisclosure of suicide ideation and other risk factors due to both the wording of the question and procedural and culturally specific issues. The timing of the assessment, the wording of the assessment tool, the establishment of a trusting relationship, and a concerned demeanor were found to increase honesty as well as comfort levels for full disclosure. Indian-specific concepts of community, mental health, loss, respect, "ghost" illness, and direct questioning of negatively framed concepts were found to be influential. The study advises that a "one size fits all" screening tool used in a detached manner will not adequately assess suicide ideation among people of any culture, particularly American Indians. Further research is needed to explore the impact of the timing of risk assessments in the jail environment on a person's likelihood of answering truthfully about their thoughts and intentions. Further, research must assist in the development of rigorously tested assessment tools and procedures that address the specific cultural and social factors identified in this report. 31 tables, 45 references, and appended study instruments and supplementary information
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): American Indians; Cultural influences; Inmate classification; NIJ grant-related documents; Risk management; Suicide; Suicide prevention
Note: Dataset may be archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
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