Suicide Among Incarcerted Inmates

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Since suicide is ranked second in jails and third in prisons (Daniels, 2006), the responsibility of prevention lies within administrative, custodial, and clinical staff. Inmates are assessed upon initial entry into jails and prison institutions. It is very important that clinicians conduct periodic assessments at times strongly associated with increased risk- such as after admission to facility, before discharge, and after clinical changes if life stressors. During the clinical assessment it is important that the clinician actively listen and ask the right questions (Daniel, 2006) such as, (a) Are you contemplating or thinking of committing suicide? (b) Do you have any plan to commit suicide? (c) If so, what is our plan to commit suicide? If the client has a realistic plan to commit suicide, then the clinician must follow the suicide prevention protocol by placing the inmate in an isolation room where staff must observe him/her for no less than every 15 minutes. A series of Conversationally phrased questions can be used to assess risk by using the Chronological Assessment of Suicide Events (CASE) which is a sophisticated reliable, and comprehensive process for eliciting suicidal thoughts and conducting risk assessment. Immediately after the assessment the clinician should create a suicide risk- reduction plan for the inmate’s future care to include information in mental health records, previous clinicians, family members or others who know the inmate. Documenting the inmate’s symptoms, stresses, and treatment responses can be an effective tool to monitor suicidal tendencies as well as inform future mental health professionals who be involved in the patient’s care (Rudd, Cukrowicz, & Bryan, 2008). There is a difference is assessing suicidal inmates and patients who are not incarcerated. Assessing inmates in prison for

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