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NCJ Number: 141465 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Inmate Watch Program Helps Prevent Suicides
Journal: Large Jail Network Bulletin  Volume:2  Issue:3  Dated:(March 1991)  Pages:13-14
Author(s): M Friedman
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 2
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The unusual aspect of Jefferson County's (Kentucky) jail suicide prevention program is its use of volunteer inmates to watch others for potentially suicidal behavior.
Abstract: The screening process for the identification of suicidal inmates begins at booking, as a nurse administers a health screening form, including a suicide-risk checklist with weighted point values, and a brief mental status examination. When an inmate manifests acute psychological distress, the nurse notifies the jail psychologist. If an arrestee is determined by the psychologist to pose a suicide risk, the appropriate shift sergeant is instructed to place the inmate in a single cell for precautionary observation. Other instructions regarding precautions may be provided depending on the degree of suicide risk. Subsequent assessments of the inmate may lead to modification of precautions and residential placement. The jail's psychiatric unit is reserved for those diagnosed as psychotic/chronically mentally ill. A core component of the suicide prevention program is the inmate suicide watch prevention program. A selection panel chooses inmate participants in the program. Key residential areas are monitored by watch teams deployed nightly on a rotating schedule. Members of an inmate watch team accompany corrections officers during their nightly security and observation checks. Volunteers are instructed to notify the officer on duty immediately if they observe an inmate who appears to be in psychological distress. The corrections officer then assumes full responsibility for coordinating emergency or precautionary measures. The Suicide Watch Program has been instrumental in preventing a number of suicides.
Main Term(s): Inmate suicide; Suicide prevention
Index Term(s): Jails; Kentucky; Volunteer programs
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