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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228532 Find in a Library
Title: Preventing Suicide in Jails and Prisons: Suggestions from Experience with Psychiatric Inpatients
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:5  Dated:September 2009  Pages:1155-1162
Author(s): Maurizio Pompili, M.D., Ph.D.; David Lester, Ph.D.; Marco Innamorati, Psy.D.; Antonio Del Casale, M.D.; Paolo Girardi, M.D.; Stefano Ferracuti, M.D.; Roberto Tatarelli, M.D.
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 8
Type: Issue Overview; Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on a literature review of research and policy recommendations regarding how psychiatric hospitals can reduce patient suicides, this paper applies these policy recommendations to suicide prevention in jails and prisons.
Abstract: The authors propose six best practices that should be included in a comprehensive suicide prevention plan for jails and prisons. First, initial and ongoing training should be provided for correctional staff, so they will be prepared to recognize suicidal inmates and respond appropriately when inmate suicidal crises occur. Second, in order to identify inmates at high risk for suicide, correctional facilities should develop procedures for systematically screening inmates upon their admission to the facility and throughout their stay. Third, a reporting mechanism should be developed that facilitates communication between front-line and management personnel regarding observed behaviors of inmates at high risk for suicide. Fourth, written procedures should outline the minimum requirements for housing high-risk inmates; providing them social support; conducting routine visual checks and constant observation for seriously suicidal inmates; and using restraints under specified conditions. Fifth, correctional facilities should either employ in-house mental health personnel or establish dependable links to community-based mental health services for the professional evaluation and treatment of inmates identified to be at risk for suicide. Sixth, a debriefing strategy should be developed for use in the event a suicide occurs. The debriefing should focus on why existing procedures did not prevent the suicide and how the facility’s detection, monitoring, and management of suicidal inmates could be improved. 4 tables and 59 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Inmate suicide; Jail management; Prison management; Suicide; Suicide prevention
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