Source: (2002) Relational Justice Bulletin. Issue 13: 4-5. Downloaded 14 May 2003.

The prison population in general is at a high risk for attempted suicide. Histories of drug abuse, neglect, fractured relationships, sex abuse, and bullying are compounded with the isolation and fear inherent in a prison environment. Dr. Medlicott discusses the importance of good staff-prisoner relationships in preventing attempted suicide, as well as the need for compassionate treatment of prisoners as “human beings.â€? Several anecdotal examples of prisoner’s experiences indicate that the need to be treated medically as a person “capable of feeling painâ€? was important to the mental wellbeing of the incarcerated and the recognition of basic human decency was instrumental in helping depressed and suicidal prisoners become more stable and adjusted. Additionally, when staff members treat prisoners with respect and dignity, inmates begin to treat one another in the same fashion and prisoners begin to comfort and protect one another.

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