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Report: State prisons should do more to prevent inmate suicides

By soome2000     Feb 22, 2007 in Crime
"The inmate suicide rate in Massachusetts was 27 percent per 100,000 inmates during the past ten years, nearly twice the national rate of 14 per 100,000 during the same time period, according to the report."
"The incidence of suicide in the DOC was greater than in prior years and we know that nationally the number of mentally ill entering the prison system is increasing,” Dennehy said in a statement accompanying the report."
Suicides in prisons are almost a fact of life. Being incarcerated, lonely, hopeless, depressed and perhaps even wrongfully convicted, not to mention the horrors that await within the steel bars, would certainly make some people consider death as an alternative.
It is not like prisons are in the business of rehabilitating or providing treatment for the inmates mainly because of costs. In most cases once they are locked up, that's it until their time is over, sometimes it is a long time for a small offence depending on the judge's sentence.
"The study concludes that guards and other staff do not have enough training in suicide prevention; guards fail to check frequently enough on at-risk inmates; some cells where suicidal inmates are held have not been stripped of items they could use to harm themselves; and inmates under suicide watch become more isolated because they are denied visits and phone calls."
Among the recommendations:
"...more ”out of cell” time for inmates; 15 minute security rounds on inpatient health services units; clinical judgment regarding placement and length of stay on suicide watch; and a ban on inmates on suicide watch from covering their heads with bedding.
”Confining a suicidal inmate to their cell for 24 hours a day only enhances isolation and is anti-therapeutic,” wrote Hayes.
The report also recommend that all inmates discharged from suicide watch remain on mental health caseloads and receive regular follow-up visits and assessments.
Investing more funding into rehabilitation, alcohol and drug treatment, education and skills training as well as good solid mental health treatment may make a big difference in the outcome of a prisoner's sentence and reduce suicide and reoffending rates as well.
More about Prisons, Safety, Suicide, Report, Boston