Reviewed on: March 03,2020

What exactly is a day in the life of an inmate on suicide watch?

My son is in Forsyth County Detention Center in Winston Salem NC and is on suicide watch. What exactly is a day in the life of a inmate on suicide watch?

Asked: January 25,2020
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The inmate is taken to administrative segregation, in the medical unit with only a mattress placed on the floor with 24-hour video surveillance with the staff making in-person checks. They are placed there with nothing to harm themselves, as the "watch" is designed to prevent hanging (the most common method in prison or jail). There are no bedsheets and the clothing is made of something that would rip if stressed. The inmate sleeps with an extra-thick blanket that can’t be tied or torn into strips. In extreme cases, an inmate may be undressed and given a paper gown. 

Even if an inmate does manage to tie something around their neck, they won’t be able to hang themself unless they have somewhere to tie the other end. Rooms are designed without any protrusions from the ceiling, walls, or furniture. Window cages, sprinkler heads, and bunk handles all pose problems. Even bars set low to the ground could be dangerous—an inmate might get on his knees and strangle himself by thrusting his weight forward all at once.

Accepted Answer Date Created: January 26,2020

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