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A discussion about suicide in jails in united states

Naomi Smith Find articles by E. Worldwide, prisoners are at high risk of suicide.

  • We can look at specific model suicide prevention programs that are currently in operation;
  • The author argues that suicides are prevented and suicide rates reduced when correctional facilities provide a comprehensive array of programming that identifies suicidal inmates who are otherwise difficult to identify, ensures their safety on suicide precautions, and provides a continuity of care throughout confinement;
  • Invariably I arrive at a correctional facility on the first day of an assessment to find that most of the inmates have been cleared from suicide precautions;
  • Although the prevailing theory is that any inmate who would go to the extreme of threatening suicide or even engaging in self-injurious behavior is suffering from at least an emotional imbalance that requires special attention; too often we conclude that the inmate is simply attempting to manipulative their environment and, therefore, such behavior should be ignored and not reinforced through intervention;
  • Review of completed suicides in California department of corrections and rehabilitation, 1999 to 2004;
  • I once asked a jail commander of one such program how his facility was able to maintain success despite budget pressures that caused low staffing levels, as well as other challenges, and he responded:

Research on near-lethal suicide attempts can provide important insights into risk and protective factors, and inform suicide prevention initiatives in prison. To synthesize findings of research on near-lethal attempts in prisons, and consider their implications for suicide prevention policies and practice, in the context of other research in custody and other settings.

Suicide Prevention in Correctional Facilities: Reflections and Next Steps

We searched two bibliographic indexes for studies in any language on near-lethal and severe self-harm in prisoners, supplemented by targeted searches over the period 2000—2014.

We extracted information on risk factors descriptively. Data were not meta-analyzed owing to heterogeneity of samples and methods.

  • Psychiatric Quarterly, 60, 161-171;
  • Psychology Today, March, 55-58.

We identified eight studies reporting associations between prisoner near-lethal attempts and specific factors. The latter included historical, prison-related, and clinical factors, including psychiatric morbidity and comorbidity, trauma, social isolation, and bullying. These factors were also identified as important in prisoners' own accounts of what may have contributed to their attempts presented in four studies.

Factors associated with prisoners' severe suicide attempts include a range of potentially modifiable clinical, psychosocial, and environmental factors.

We make recommendations to address these factors in order to improve detection, management, and prevention of suicide risk in prisoners. Several prison suicide prevention strategies, including those in the US, UK, and Australia, have been developed partly in response to what is known about the epidemiology of suicide in prisoners and in-depth analyses of the prison and clinical records of inmates thought to have taken their own lives Konrad et al.

These strategies need updating as new findings about suicide in prisoners emerge. Interviewing those who have engaged in near-lethal suicide attempts can provide insights into risk factors and the suicidal process, which is not possible through analyses of official records or interviews with staff or informants. Such an approach is likely to contribute to a richer understanding of the ways in which contributory and protective factors interact, and their relative importance in the pathways leading to suicidal behavior.

In turn, this information may help identify and prioritize evidence-based preventative initiatives. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on near-lethal suicide attempts in prisoners.

We provide an overview of this research and discuss its implications for suicide prevention policies and practices in the context of other relevant literature on suicide in other offending groups including those in police custody and recently released prisoners. We included articles relevant to near-lethal suicide attempts in prisoners, both published and unpublished, with no language restrictions.

Progress in prevention is at stake

We extracted information on risk and contributing factors, methods, and lethality of attempts. Where applicable, we also extracted information on potential preventive factors, based on the accounts of prisoners involved in near-lethal attempts.

Studies conducted in any setting other than prisons were excluded. Eligible studies were screened independently by two authors E.

There were no disagreements between the authors when screening eligible articles. In the Results section we present the findings from the studies reviewed, and then consider their implications for suicide prevention in the Discussion.

Prevention of Suicidal Behavior in Prisons

Results The Included Studies Out of 389 articles identified in our search, 13 papers met our inclusion criteria, based on eight separate studies published between 2000 and 2014 see Table 1 and PRISMA flowchart, Figure 1. Three studies were conducted in the US Bonner, 2006 ; Magaletta et al.

Prisoner compositions varied between studies e. By contrast, our own studies of near-lethal self-harm Marzano et al. The remaining two studies were qualitative studies of prisoners who had attempted suicide in prison, with no comparison groups Borrill et al. Table 1 Research on near-lethal attempts in prisoners Article.

  • Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 37, 363-370;
  • Not much information is available on compliance by counties;
  • Progress in eliminating jail suicides through prevention programs may be at risk;
  • Psychiatric Quarterly, 60, 161-171;
  • Concern and advocacy have declined, and we are approaching a new and growing crisis;
  • Progress in prevention is at stake In the mid-1980s, when the first research on jail suicides emerged, the rate was about 105 suicides per 100,000 inmates.