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Suicide in Corrections - Inmate Suicide

"Today, prisons house those potentially at risk for self-harm in isolation cells, while additional personnel check on them every 15 minutes. Although this form of surveillance “tends to be highly effective, it’s very labor-intensive,” not to mention costly and invasive, says Jeffrey Ashe, a principal scientist at General Electric. And like Helzer, inmates can simply attempt suicide between check-ins and personnel shifts."

"Sentinel Event Reviews for Suicide and Self-harm in Correctional Facilities"

""Some people think that solitary confinement is basically just spending some alone time," one former prisoner says. "It's not. It's like being buried alive.""

"Taking each suicide threat as the real thing ensures that you're always ready for when an inmate actually attempts suicide and prevent losing a life."

"Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, the distribution of deaths across jails, and the aggregate count of deaths in federal prisons. The report presents annual counts and 14-year trends between 2000 and 2013 in deaths in custody. It provides mortality rates per 100,000 inmates in custody in jail or prison; details the causes of death, including deaths attributed to homicide, suicide, illness, intoxication, and accidental injury; describes decedents' characteristics, including age, sex, race or Hispanic origin, legal and hold status, and time served; and specifies the state where the deaths occurred. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, initiated in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297)."

This report “does more than simply present a calculation of suicide rates. It presents the most comprehensive updated information on the extent and distribution of inmate suicides throughout the country, including data on the changing face of suicide victims. Most important, the study challenges both jail and health-care officials and their respective staffs to remain diligent in identifying and managing suicidal inmates” (p.vii). Five chapters follow an executive summary: introduction; national study of jail suicides—20 years later; demographic findings of suicide data; special considerations; and conclusion. The majority of victims (98%) used hanging as their method of suicide, with 32% of all suicides occurring between 3:01 P.M. and 9 P.M., 2 to 14 days following arrest (27%).

National Study of Jail Suicide: 20 Years Later Cover

"At this unique moment when the public is actually paying attention to local jails, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has released a new report based on its Death in Custody Reporting Program showing that the number of people who died while under custody of state prisons and local jails increased for a third consecutive year and, especially troubling, that suicide in jails is a national crisis"

"The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) reported a 40% increase in suicides between 2008 and 2014. As of September 2015, the average number of suicide attempts in Texas prisons each month had jumped 28% from 81.7 attempts per month in 2014 to 104.5 attempts per month during the first eight months of 2015."

"Texas county jails have seen an almost 60 percent decrease in suicides from last year."

"...and since then, at least 810 people have lost their lives in jail."

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