Critical Issues - Suicide in Correctional Settings

From: Behavioral Sciences and the Law, Vol. 15, 399-413, 1997

From Chaos to Calm: One Jail System's Struggle with Suicide Prevention

Lindsay M. Hayes, M.S.

This article profiles the suicide prevention practices at a large metropolitan jail, a facility that experienced nine inmate suicides in a recent 24-month period. The suicide rate in this facility was found to far exceed the rate for jails of comparable size as well as the national rate of jail suicides. The nine suicides are summarized and common features (including the issue of protective custody) of the deaths and systemic jail deficiencies are discussed. The process by which the jail system developed a suicide prevention program based upon the principles of staff training, identification/screening, communication, levels of supervision, housing, and intervention is offered.

© 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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