Preventing prison suicides: staff perspectives

Authors:
STUBBS Jessica, DURCAN Graham
Publisher:
Centre for Mental Health
Publication year:
2017
Pagination:
8
Place of publication:
London

The fourth in a series of briefings into mental health in prisons, this briefing focuses on staff views on what contributes to vulnerability and suicide risk in prisoners. It also makes recommendations based on staff members’ views and their examples of promising practice. The briefing draws on findings from interviews and focus groups held with health care staff, safer custody officers and independent clinical reviewers working in prisons and for health care providers. The figures show that suicide in prison, incidents of self-harm and violent incidents have all risen dramatically over the past three years. Staff identified staffing shortages, inexperienced staff, a prison culture which views prisoner’s distress, self-harming or suicide attempts as ‘manipulative’ rather than ‘vulnerable’, and the increasing complex needs of the prison population as contributing to increased risk of suicide. Staff also highlighted arrival in prison as a time of increased suicide risk and the importance of completing assessments for new arrivals. Recommendations include: the adoption of a ‘stepped care’ approach’ where in which the whole system is responsible for a prisoner’s wellbeing and mental health support is available at every level of need; providing training and support for staff; and the need for robust assessments when a person arrives in prison. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
suicide, prisoners, prisons, prevention, staff, attitudes, health professionals, risk, mental health problems, needs assessment;
Content type:
research
Location(s):
England, Wales
Link:
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