Jail Suicide Prevention [2023]

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Course Author(s)

Dr. A.E. Daniel

Course Summary

The United States has the highest number of incarcerated individuals in the industrialized countries of the world. A sizable proportion of these incarcerated individuals also have serious mental disorders, making suicide a not uncommon occurrence in jails and prisons. As such, this topic is of great concern to correctional and jail officers/administrators, healthcare providers, policymakers, and politicians. More importantly, it is a serious public health problem and is the second leading cause of death in jails and the third leading cause of death in prisons.

Suicide prevention in prisons and jails is a significant challenge for correctional healthcare providers, administrators, and officers, but prevention is not uniformly carried out in most jails and prisons. There is wide variation in the implementation of suicide prevention programs from facility to facility and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Most facilities’ leadership team members are satisfied with existing policies and procedures, which place undue emphasis on screening instruments, using only “spot checks” of a prisoner’s mental well-being. Some are only superficially aware of policies and procedures related to suicide prevention.

However, fully implemented 24/7 suicide prevention programs not only save lives but also form the best defense against liability claims such as malpractice and deliberate indifference lawsuits.

Suicide is a terrible tragedy for any human being. The knowledge and recommendations provided in this course will increase your awareness of the warning signs of suicide and may enable you to save a life.

Course Syllabus

  • Module 1 - Suicide in Jails and Prisons

    • Introduction by Dr. A.E. Daniels
    • Course Introduction
    • Definitions and Concepts
    • Suicidal Ideation and Thoughts
    • Suicide Screening
    • Profile of A Suicidal Inmate
    • Recognizing Suicide Risk
    • Recognizing Suicide Risk - Continued
    • Assessment
  • Module 2 - Suicide in Jails and Prisons

    • Explanations of Deliberate Indifferences and Causes of Suicide
    • Administrative Steps for Prevention
    • Liability
    • Potential Claims for Deliberate Indifference
    • Common Causes for Litigation Related to Suicide
    • Case Histories - Case 1
    • Case History - Case 2
    • Risk Management Strategies
    • Strategies for the Clinician
    • Assessment