Critical Issues - Suicide in Correctional Settings
From: Bull Am Academy Psychiatry Law, Vol. 22, No. 4, 1994
Preventing Jailhouse Suicides
Alan R. Felthous, M.D.
Psychiatric consultants to city and county jails are confronted with the challenge of preventing jailhouse suicides, a problem of national scope. Suicide prevention programs in jails must emphasize screening and identification, psychological support, observation, disarmament, clarity and consistency, and diagnosis, treatment, and/or hospitalization. Exactly how these principles are formulated and implemented will depend on the unique circumstances of each jail. Finally information is presented as evidence that a program that embodies these principles can effectively reduce the number of suicides in a jail where the average daily census has increased from fewer than 400 to greater than 900 in the past six years.