North Carolina Policy Seeks to Decrease Prison Suicide Rates

RALEIGH, N.C. — Prompted by a rash of recent inmate suicides, North Carolina correctional officials published new policies and procedures on June 1 intended to prevent inmate attempts at self-harm. One North Carolina inmate committed suicide in January, and four additional suicides occurring between mid-April and early May brought the crisis to a head.

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Attitude, Communication Can Prevent Suicides

Suicides have become synonymous with correctional facilities. Reports of apparent suicides and attempted suicides populate the pages of newspapers and other media outlets almost daily. But despite the abundance of such reports, suicide rates have dropped at state prisons and local jails during the last 20 years, according the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.

A recent report revealed that jail suicide rates have declined from 129 per 100,000 inmates in 1983 to 47 per 100,000 inmates in 2002.

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