Did you know that roughly 10 suicides occur in jails every week? Because suicide is the leading cause of death in local jails, it’s important to begin suicide prevention from the initial arrest. OneBeacon Government Risks wants to prepare you to recognize the warning signs of inmates in immediate risk and how to properly respond. Below we’ve provided many helpful tips from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center:
Inmates are more at risk to suicide than the general population due to many factors including but not limited to:
- Depression and/or mental illness
- Abuse of alcohol or drugs
- Medical conditions
- Prior attempts
- Environment of prison/jail
- Feelings of guilt/shame
- Lack of support
- Fear for safety
- Lack of mental health resources
Take immediate action if an inmate mentions feeling hopeless, is looking for a way to attempt suicide or talks about committing suicide or dying. However, there are many other warning signs that officers should be on the lookout for including:
- Extreme mood swings
- Sleeping patterns; too little or too much
- Anxious, agitated, rage or reckless
- Isolation or withdrawal
- Giving away possessions
- Unbearable pain
- Being a burden
- Feeling trapped
If you see any of the above signs, take them seriously and take action.
- Action should always be within your facility’s protocols and procedures.
- Ask if the inmate is considering suicide.
- Remove any items in the inmate’s cell that may be lethal.
- Notify the mental health professional on staff.
- If the mental health professional deems the inmate to be suicidal, the inmate should be checked on every 10-15 minutes at irregular intervals.
- Do not, unless absolutely necessary, place a suicidal inmate in isolation.
For More Information:
For more information on suicide prevention in jails visit: sprc.org
For more information on the coverage OneBeacon Government Risks offers contact firstname.lastname@example.org