Sheriff: Increased Training Helps Prevent Suicides Inside County's Correctional Facility

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN-TV) - Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says increased training has helped them handle potential suicide cases inside their prison walls.

“Suicide is something that ever jail administrator, it’s their worst nightmare,” Sheriff Apple said.

Sheriff Apple says suicide in jail cells is a nightmare, simply because it’s hard to stop.

“If somebody’s insistent on taking their own life they’re going to figure out a way inside that facility to do it.”

To help prevent suicides here, Albany County has increased officer training and check cells hourly and sometimes every 15 minutes

Enhance evaluations of inmates when they first enter jail and separate those who may try to take their own life.

“They would be seen by a doctor, they would be seen by either a psychiatrist or psychologist and then they’d probably be put on the mental health tier where they’d be under constant supervision.”

In severe cases, those on potential suicide watch, officers stand by literally.

“That officer will literally stare at that inmate non-stop that inmate will not be left alone at all.”

Looking at the numbers here in Albany County, Sheriff Apple says suicides have gone down fortunately over the last several years. Something he credits for the expansion of a mental health wing throughout their jails that started in 2012.

“It rocks you because, it’s tough on staff, it’s tough on inmates, it’s tough on everybody and again we work hard every day to try to avoid.”

NYS DOCCS sent the following information to our sister station WTEN-TV in Albany:

"All new Correction Officers receive two days of specialized mental health training, including at least eight hours on the prevention of suicide, prior to being assigned to a facility. Annually, all security and civilian staff, with direct inmate contact, receive two hours of formal suicide prevention and intervention training. By law, DOCCS staff regularly assigned to any of the Residential Mental Health Treatment Units receive at least 8 hours annually of training.

The Department has also hosted national suicide prevention expert Lindsay Hayes who conducted an in depth review of DOCCS suicide prevention training and procedures. A number of his recommendations, including improved inmate screening assessments  and enhanced training for all staff are currently being implemented."

NYSCOBA declined to comment.

 

 


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