The Management of Suicide in Prison

Suicidal acts in prison involve the self-infliction of damage with variable degrees of awareness (Towl and Crighton 346). It comprises all actions of self- harm, irrespective of the degree of physical harm or the seeming reasons for the action. According to Towl and Crighton (346), in case of death in a prison the issues of answerability are more urgent than in any other cases. This is because prisons signify a great system of state power. In the implementation of such power, it is duty of staff and management to be liable to the community as an obligation of equality and justice. However, achieving effective answerability in prison is an exceedingly hectic and poorly understood procedure. This has result to holding of a full and community inquiry in presence of a jury in most cases of death in prisons. The aim of this inquiry is to find the identity of the dead, the reason of the death, and the situations near the death. However, the practical steps that can be taken by the prison staffs in the management of the suicidalare extremely delicate. This has made the management of the suicidal in prison be one of the most thorny task in the prison.

According to Towl and Crighton (348), establishment of a good relationship of staff with prisoner is one of the steps that can be used in control of suicidal in prison. However, it is difficult, particularly in local prison, for staffs to create such relationships because the chances of the staff and the prisoner being together are less. Moreover, the prisoner’sdanger of suicide is particularly high during orientation in the prisoner. At this point, it is only the relationship of the orientation unit staff with the prisoner that contribute to the prisoner with suicidal feeling reporting or not reporting to the staff. However, if the orientation staff is treating his prisoners well they will be free to express their suicidal feeling to him, hence counseled. This has resulted difficult in controlling suicidal within prisons, especially during the first days after arrival in the prison.

According to Towl and Crighton (350), effective communication among the prisoner is a vital way of controlling suicidal in prison. The prison management should enhance written records of each prisoner in the prison for easy follow up of their conditions in prison. Lack of suitable training and confidence among the staffs about their communication skills in relation to suicide control have resulted to increase in suicidal cases in prisons. Instead of states training their staffs well on how to control suicide they have made it mandatory to them to adhere to the instruction, communicate and follow up any sign of suicidal among the prisoner. If they fail to do so they are the one who are answerable in case of any death in the prison. However, lack of effective communication has made it difficult to manage suicidal in many prisons; therefore, the states should train their prison staffs on how to communicate effective.

To manage effectively suicidal in prison the ratio of staff and the prisoners should be proportional. The prison should not be overcrowded by prisoner while the staffs remain few. However, in most prisons there are many prisoners compared to the number of staffs attending them. As a result of staff shortage, it has become difficult to prisoners individually in attempt of detecting whether he or she has suicidal feelings. In addition, when the prisoners are many it is difficult for a staff to establish relationship with the prisoners. This has made it difficult to control suicides in most prison because it is difficult for a staff to identify a prisoner with suicidal feeling in a crowd of prisoners.

The prison environment should be conducive to the prisoner to reduce the chances of suicidal tendencies. Harsh environment among many prisons due to lack of good facilities has resulted to increased risk of suicides in prisons. In addition, prison staffs fail to administer treatment of withdrawal symptoms to a prisoner who had pre-existing risk of suicidal after his admission (Towl and Crighton 356). The prison staffs should be very precise when it comes to suicidal matters because if it happens they are the ones who are answerable.If the prisoner are treated well and they had no prior feeling of suicidal before they were imprisoned it is hard for such prisoner to have that feeling of suicidal. However, a good follow up of prisoner who had prior feeling before their admission, and environment that is conducive are among the many things that makes the management of suicidal in prison difficult.

The death of a prisoner because of suicide is taken seriously by the state power, therefore, should be avoided as much as possible. Though, it is difficult to try to predict desperate behavior in an individual, the states should make it a routine for any prison to have frequent screening of suicidal feeling in among the prisoners. The state should state clearly the follow-ups to the prison staffs in case a prisoner is found with suicidal feeling to reduce these cases. In addition, prison staffs should receive training and more prison established to reduce overcrowding in prison. A prisoner is equally important like any other person and care should be taken when handling them. In addition, the state should improve the welfare and security of the prison staffs to improve their motivation in their duties. However, the state should acknowledge that management of suicidal in prison is extremely difficult.

Work Cited

Towl, Graham & Crighton David. 2010. Forensic Psychology. John Wiley and Sons press, United Kingdom. Print. Pp. 346-356.

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