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Suicide in Corrections - Juvenile Suicide

"The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (the National Strategy) is the result of a joint effort by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance). The National Strategy is a call to action that is intended to guide suicide prevention actions in the United States over the next decade. It outlines four strategic directions with 13 goals and 60 objectives that are meant to work together in a synergistic way to prevent suicide in the nation."

"Need to Know: A Fact Sheet Series on Juvenile Suicide was developed by the Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The task force’s Public Awareness and Education Workgroup developed this series to raise awareness among individuals who work with youth involved with the juvenile justice system"

"Youth with mental health disorders continue to enter and remain in juvenile detention, corrections, and adult jails and prisons. Some of these youth are mildly disturbed; others have a serious mental illness. Their ability to function in a facility can be compromised by:"

"The old adage, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen,” does not represent the truth. We do not write down everything that happens in our lives, day-to-day, hour-by-hour. A great deal happens to us that we do not document. However, in juvenile detention centers, juvenile correctional facilities, and adult facilities that serve youth, that old saying is not just a figure of speech, it is a truism. Comprehensive recording and report writing, based on vigilant observation of behavior and events, is essential to verify that something did occur and to record the details of the event."

"The task force produced resources, organized by workgroup name and described in greater detail below, to provide findings, recommendations, and practical tools for juvenile justice and mental health system administrators and staff."

"Adolescent suicide in the general population is a national tragedy and a major public health problem (Carmona, 2005). For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death, resulting in more than 4,600 lives lost each year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2012). In addition, more young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth aged to 10 to 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at emergency departments across the United States (CDC, 2012)."

Identifying suicide risk among young people is a critical component of the comprehensive approach that the juvenile justice system must adopt to prevent suicide. Ideally, this identification is done with research-based screening and assessment instruments. To select effective instruments, it is necessary to be aware of the juvenile justice system’s responsibilities in preventing suicide, the contexts in which screening and assessment instruments are used, current standards for screening instruments and assessment tools used in mental health and juvenile justice settings, and specific instruments that are available to advance suicide prevention efforts. These facets of suicide prevention are explored in this paper (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: introduction; measuring suicide risk; screening and assessment procedures; current standards for instrument selection; four screening tools; five assessment tools; implementation of suicide risk screening and assessment; and conclusion.

Screening and Assessment for Suicide Prevention: Tools and Procedures for Risk Identification among Juvenile Justice Youth Cover

"The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of multiple adverse life experiences (sexual abuse, homelessness, running away, and substance abuse in the family) on suicide ideation and suicide attempt among adolescents at an urban juvenile detention facility in the United States."

If you work with justice-involved juvenile, you need to read this bulletin. "Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population. In this bulletin, the authors examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL (p. 1). Findings are presented for: hopelessness; thoughts about death and dying; thoughts about suicide; suicide plan; telling someone about suicidal thoughts; suicide attempts; and psychiatric disorders that may increase the odds of suicide attempts. Additional discussion concerns demographic characteristics and suicide risk, and psychiatric disorders and suicide risk. Based on the results, detention facilities need to systematically screen juveniles for suicide risk within 24 hours of arrival if not sooner, and increase the availability of psychiatric services.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth Cover

"Despite the lowest youth crime rates in 20 years, hundreds of thousands of young people are locked away every year in the nation’s 591 secure detention centers. Detention centers are intended to temporarily house youth who pose a high risk of re-offending before their trial, or who are deemed likely to not appear for their trial. But the nation’s use of detention is steadily rising, and facilities are packed with young people who do not meet those high-risk criteria—about 70 percent are detained for nonviolent offenses."

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