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Strategies for Managing Suicide & Self-Harm in Prisons

NCJ Number
Morag McArthur; Peter Camilleri; Honey Webb
Date Published
August 1999
6 pages
This is a summary of current program initiatives and strategies for minimizing self-harm in Australian prisons.
The trend in first phase response to prisoners identified as suicide risks is toward the mobilization of multidisciplinary management teams. While different jurisdictions are implementing varying strategies, most assign to crisis care units prisoners deemed most at risk of suicide or self-harm. Suicide prevention strategies include regular assessments by medical teams, peer support programs and visitor supports. Support schemes for Aboriginal inmates include visitor, peer, and medical services specially designed for that population. Prison staffs are receiving special training in suicide awareness. In attempts to reduce stress on prisoners and help them to deal with stress, the Department of Justice is placing new emphasis on peer support programs, increasing recreational activities for inmates and upgrading facilities to relieve overcrowding. Many prisoners are extremely vulnerable and prison can offer them the opportunity to break away from past criminal behavior. Equipping them with skills and capabilities would protect them from self-harming behavior and would protect the wider community. References