Suicide Prevention and Recommended Practices
Here you will find specific sources that are
directly relevant to the DOJ Condition of Confinement Suicide Prevention
initiatives. Our Detention Facilities (IGA’s or Private Contracts) can
be made aware of these resources and obtain the material directly from
this website or by contacting the
Information Center Help Desk via email or (800) 995-6423.
resources can be found on the
National Institute of Corrections website.
Improve Your Agency’s Response and Services to Suicidal
and Mentally Ill Offenders
Jail Suicide/Mental Health Update is a joint project of the
National Center on Institutions and Alternatives
National Institute of Corrections. Published quarterly, this free
newsletter is part of continuing efforts to keep practitioners aware of
developments in the field of jail suicide prevention and jail mental
health services. To view previous issues or to be placed on a mailing
Lindsay Hayes, Editor and NCIA Project Director.
The following resources are also available:
NIC April 2010 Follow-up Jail Suicide Study
NIC recently published,
National Study of Jail Suicide: 20 Years Later (April 2010).
revisits a survey that was conducted by the National Center on
Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA), an NIC sponsored study, in the
mid-1980s. The current report finds that the characteristics and
demographic data surrounding inmate suicide have changed dramatically
since the original study. The number of suicide deaths has also declined
(854 deaths between 1985-1996 and 696 between 2005-2006). However,
today's jails still face a 3 times greater rate of suicide than the
general public, making suicide a leading cause of inmate deaths.
More resources that address jail suicide are available through the NIC
Information Center's online library:
Suicide Prevention: Instructor’s Manual (2007)
Participants of this 32-hour training program about suicide prevention
should be able to: recognize characteristics of correctional facilities
that foster suicide; list signs and symptoms of a possible suicidal
inmate; know the times for increased suicidal risk; recognize the events
that can trigger a possible suicide; know how to respond to an actively
suicidal inmate; and understand the importance of early suicide
intervention. This manual contains student materials, lesson plans,
tests, and additional information. Four video clips accompany this
lesson. A short introduction (1:03 min.) provides some sobering
statistics about suicide in correctional facilities; two clips (3:53
min. and 3:13 min.) show how the Initial Needs Survey (INS) is
administered to two different individuals (one possibly at-risk for
suicide); and a conclusion which relates in part how the Orange County
Jail System has experienced only five suicides over the last ten years
(during which 831,040 people were booked).
Guide for Development of Suicide Prevention Plans (1991,
Updated 2006) -
Providing a structure on which
to base a comprehensive suicide prevention plan, this document prompts
the planner through each aspect of suicide response. Main subjects
covered include staff training, screening and identification of jail
inmates at risk for suicide, communication among staff regarding at-risk
inmates, housing, supervision/observation, intervention in a suicide
attempt, and reporting and investigation of successful attempts.
Correctional Health Care: Suicide Prevention (Lesson Plan
and Participant’s Manual 2006) -
health-based risk factors, programmatic guidelines, and various methods
of suicide prevention are discussed during this 20-hour course. This
manual contains sections about: the importance of suicide prevention to
prison administrators and clinicians; standards of care and liability
(case law); aftermath of a suicide; suicide risk indicators; geriatric
inmates; and presentation overviews. The lesson plan is presented as an
"executive summary" (issue overview).
These are the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and DOJ’s Office
of Federal Detention Trustee’s recommended suicide prevention practices:
Suicide Prevention in a Correctional Setting –
Lessons Learned: This is a two page handout that
highlights key “lessons learned” gleaned from a review of psychological
reconstructions of completed suicides that occurred in the Federal
Bureau of Prisons, as well as the professional literature on suicide
prevention. This is a good tool for jail inspectors and facility
administrators of what an administrator should be looking for and
inspecting with regard to suicide prevention. This is a learning tool ,
not a replacement for a formal suicide protocol or policy.
Preventing Suicide in Prison: A Collaborative
Responsibility of Administrative, Custodial and Clinical Staff:
This article from The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and
the Law summarizes key issues in suicide prevention. It is relevant to
both mental health providers and custodial supervisors.
Assessment Tool: This article presents a tool that
can be used by mental health provider to guide their suicide
assessments. The use of this and other similarly structured suicide
assessment tools have been found to be a critical ingredient in reducing
in Suicide Risk Assessment Documentation: This one
page handout highlights key components of a well conducted and
documented suicide risk assessment. It is useful to mental health
providers who conduct suicide risk assessments.
Bibliography on Suicide Risk Assessment and Prevention:
This list provides additional resource materials for facilities
interested in enhancing their suicide prevention efforts.