Implementation of a Suicide Risk Screening Instrument in a Remand Prison Service in Berlin [2018]

In the present study, we examined the effects of implementing the suicide risk screening instrument SIRAS in a pre-trial detention facility for men in Berlin. Within a period of 3 months, all newly arriving prisoners were screened (n = 611) by social workers or prison officers. Cases of elevated suicide risk were immediately referred to a psychologist or medical staff the same day. Follow-up over a 6-month period showed that 14% of all incoming prisoners were classified as high-risk individuals. These individuals received significantly more psychological and psychiatric treatment and were significantly more likely to be accommodated in crisis intervention rooms and emergency community accommodation (shared prison cells). In addition, it was found that despite the increased amount of treatment in the high-risk group, the number of specific measures did not increase significantly compared to the pre-implementation phase (N = 1,510).

Dora Dezsö, Norbert Konrad, Katharina Seewald and Annette Opitz-Welke
Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11 December 2018