Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Suicide attempts at TDCJ spiked so far in 2015

The average monthly number of suicide attempts among prisoners under TDCJ custody increased 28 percent so far in 2015, from an average of 81.7 attempts per month in 2014, to an average of 104.5 attempts per month, according to a document forwarded to Grits titled "Emergency Action Center, Select Statistics, August 2015." The number of completed suicides, however, stayed the same, at an average of 2.6 per month both years (from a low of 0 some months to a high of 5, system-wide). Thirty-one people committed suicide in TDCJ in 2014; 21 had done so as of this August 2015 report.

According to the same document, the ratio of suicide attempts in 2014 was the highest in recent history at 64.1 per 10,000 offenders, and the monthly totals are higher, even, this year. Before that, the ratio was 50.3 per 10,000 in 2013 and hadn't topped 50 the decade prior.

Use of force/assaults on staff
Major use of force by staff was slightly higher in 2015 compared to last year, and in 2014 the rate of major use of force by staff per 10,000 inmates reached a decade-long apex, at 512.6 per 10,000. The rate of serious assaults on both staff and offenders are down slightly.

Major use of force happens much more at some units than others. Some may report zero, one or two incidents per month for months on end, while others like Telford, Coffield, Stiles, Clements, Jester IV, McConnell, Connally, Montford, Smith, Hughes, Robertson, and a few others account for double-digit incidents every month.

The rate of serious assaults on staff per 10,000 prisoners in 2014 was 50 percent higher than in 2006 - 6.0 per 10,000 prisoners compared to 4.0 per 10,000. Serious assaults in this case are defined as incidents where the staff person needs medical attention beyond first aid.

12 comments:

David E said...

My reading on suicide revealed that (generally) women attempted suicide to gain attention, whereas men attempted suicide to die. I found that this was the case for men where I served; it was unusual for a male to survive his attempt. We had a card with the outward signs of a potential suicide, and these were given to volunteers in their training sessions, along with a pretty thorough discussion led by me. I took suicide prevention quite seriously, but I have no way of knowing any actual results. It is awfully easy to get caught up in the day-to-day swirl and chaos on a large unit, to the point that you dull your sense of observation and recognition of individuals contemplating taking their life. Wish it were different.

Anonymous said...

I suspect if you look at many of these cases you will find serious mental health issues were involved, symptoms were ignored, and little to no treatment was provided. I bet that many could have been prevented if at least minimally adequate mental health treatment had been available.

Anonymous said...

I suspect if you look at many of these cases you will find that they were actually not guilty, raped, white and were around 90 lbs wet at 5'6" and smaller. Then if you squint while looking you just might be surprised to learn that some were killed by guards and made to look like suicide completions. They don't report every single use of force incident and damn sure don't report guard on inmate murders, it just aint happening. Something like Rule 22 or 26?

Anonymous said...

In my 13 years as a correctional officer, I took suicide attempts and /or talk of, very seriously. We were given cards and had additional training yearly. I have found that if someone really wants to kill themselves, not much can be done to prevent them from doing so. However I also found as I did my rounds, if I stopped and talked to offenders, then that went along away in prevention.

Anonymous said...

"I have found that if someone really wants to kill themselves, not much can be done to prevent them from doing so."

What can be done is to provide mental health treatment before they get to that point. Currently, an inmate is not provided any significant treatment until they are in a crisis. They need to quit ignoring symptoms and start providing treatment when they should instead of ignoring the problems until a person is actively psychotic or suicidal. Providing mental health treatment is not the job of the correctional officer. The correctional officer should recognize the symptoms and send the person to the medical folks who should them provide treatment. Neither of those things are happening. Often the correctional officer fails to recognize symptoms and instead of sending the person for treatment they give them a case. That just makes things worse and combined with the lack of treatment causes the person to spiral into a crisis situation. The lack of mental health care provided by TDCJ is shameful.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, TDCJ needs to start providing medications for treatment of mental health conditions. Currently, they have very few medications to treat things like bipolar disorder and psychosis on their formulary. The folks in Huntsville say the doctor (which an inmate rarely sees) can prescribe medications not on their formulary. However, there appears to be an unwritten policy forbidding them to do so.

Soronel Haetir said...

I would find it amazing if use of force were well distributed across the prison system. As I understand things prisoners themselves are not well distributed (levels of security being the prime example) and so it should not be at all surprising that issues related to prison management are not evenly distributed.

Mikel Sanders said...

This is very interesting and yet disturbing. It's amazing what society truly doesn't know or understand what goes on in jails and prisons. I know it is made to be a place you don't want to return; but when the suicide rate is rising because of those inmates that can't do the time; it gets truly sad. Flabbergasted!!!!!

sunray's wench said...

I'd like to see the parole status of those who killed themselves. How many had been refused parole on multiple occasions and what were the "reasons" given.

Anonymous said...

No one is safe in prison with all the gang activaty going on, and the parole board is not letting the small time crime inmates out. so by the time they do get out they might have been abused or threatend and intimadaded to join a gang just to try and stay safe in there it's just a breeding place for gangs in prison the little guy has no chance, because there is also believe it or not a lot of officers involved with gangs and crimes, parole needs to step up and start paroling more of these low level crimes and focus on the real threats of the cartels, Gangs in prisons!! lives are at stack every day in there inmates as well as officers

Anonymous said...

I remember up until about maybe 2002, that TDC would give a lot more different types of medications. It was at that point they changed alot of the medications available due to misuse and diversion. Unfortunately, I have been down 3 times over the years, and a lot has changed, mostly for the worse. I am just giving an objective view based on previous experience versus most recent experience. TDCJ greatly cut a lot of programs, mental health services, and have little room for treatment services when most of the population is drug offenses, alcohol offenses, and low level BS. Sentencing and diversion laws and programs need to be utilized a whole lot more. It is true that gangs cause a lot of problems for the convict just wanting to do his or her time and just get back home. Some people are" forced" into these gangs, get tattoos all over their body and face, therefore reducing their chances of getting gainful employment and living a productive life, thusly continuing the cycle. The criminal justice system need to look at the person overall, and not just the offense that they committed. Unless they're a rapist, or chomo. That's just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Love you 2 cents 11:09...you are 100% Right!!