Letter: Prison suicide is community issue

Published:

 

Suicide in correctional institutions is a public health issue. Switching out shower heads and sprinklers to make it more challenging for inmates to hang themselves does nothing to address the reasons why inmates commit suicide.

As outlined in the Oct. 28 story "At jail, a rising tide of suicide," I support the proposed increase in mental health services targeting vulnerable inmates. I agree that the Clark County Jail needs a more therapeutic approach to addressing the needs of inmates who are considering suicide. Rather than keeping inmates who are at risk of committing suicide in isolation — which, according to the World Health Organization, can increase the likelihood of suicide — the jail should focus on providing effective rehabilitative services such as skills and job training.

Also, appropriate counseling services can help these vulnerable people understand their own worth and prepare them for a productive life beyond a correctional institution.

Our Vancouver community would be a main beneficiary of improvements to the services and environment for inmates.

Providing effective services for inmates at risk of suicide at the jail prevents our community from losing a father, a daughter, or a loved one, and increases the likelihood that inmates can re-enter our community as productive members of society.

Lena Sessions

Vancouver