Preventing jailhouse suicides

Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1994;22(4):477-88.


Psychiatric consultants to city and county jails are confronted with the challenge of preventing jailhouse suicides, a problem of national scope. Suicide prevention programs in jails must emphasize screening and identification, psychological support, observation, disarmament, clarity and consistency, and diagnosis, treatment, and/or hospitalization. Exactly how these principles are formulated and implemented will depend on the unique circumstances of each jail. Finally information is presented as evidence that a program that embodies these principles can effectively reduce the number of suicides in a jail where the average daily census has increased from fewer than 400 to greater than 900 in the past six years.

MeSH terms

  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Humans
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisons / organization & administration*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Social Isolation
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • United States