YET ANOTHER TRAGIC PRISON SUICIDE

Tragic to read of yet another prison suicide, so un-necassary if only the courts would seek more information before committing vulnerable people to remand in custody.
I have a great deal of front line experience in dealing with suicides in prisons having for years served as a voluntary mentor for vulnerable prisoners both on an informal basis and formally, after training, as a Listener. I have also attended a conference on the subject whilst I was in custody so I do know what I am talking about.
Seemingly strong people can be broken down emotionally by the experience of custody, it doesn’t just affect the obviously vulnerable.
When a guy, or girl, is faced, as many remand prisoners are, with a situation which is alien and fearful to them they are already vulnerable but then add the uncertainty of what is facing them and they in most cases become an acute suicide risk. It only takes the feeling of otal isolation to tip them over the edge. Sadly there is no solution to this problem which is likely to get worse.
It certainly is totally inadequate to simply ask an inmate on reception if he has any record of self harm. Far more thorough assessment is necessary but of course a thorough assessment requires staff and the prisons are so short staffed at present that that will never happen.
When a suicide occurs it has a huge effect on the establsihment it has occurred in. The prison/YOI goes straight into lockdown causing even more tension throughout. The staff dealing with it on many occasions are deeply traumatised, and that is just inside the establishment.
The MoJ must put more effort into addressing the problem, it is very serios and tragic in evey respect and will not be helped by constantly reducing staff levels nor building giant superprisons which are little more than holding warehouses for offenders.
I actually describe what it is like to find a prisoner attempting to hang himself in my book A LIFE OF SENTENCES and believe me it is not a pleasant experience.
A LIFE OF SENTENCES available as a paperback from Amazon or Olympia Publishers.com or as an e book for Kindle also from Amazon

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