In August 1994, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention published Conditions of Confinement: Juvenile Detention and Corrections Facilities (Parent et al., 1994). The study described in that Report investigated several conditions of confinement within juvenile facilities, including suicide prevention practices. Using four specific assessment criteria to evaluate suicide prevention practiceswritten procedures, intake screening, staff training, and close observationthe study found the following: |
Only 25 percent of confined juveniles were in facilities that conformed to all four suicide prevention assessment criteria.
Facilities that conducted suicide screening at admission and trained staff in suicide prevention had fewer incidents of suicidal behavior among their residents.
Suicidal behavior increased for youth housed in isolation.
Written policies to provide close observation of suicidal residents did not appear to significantly reduce the rate of suicidal behavior. Because these policies are typically implemented after the risk or attempt is recognized, however, they may reduce the number of suicides.