Throughcare: Stages in the Provision of a Throughcare Service to Prisoners

Throughcare Map

Suicide Prevention

The revised Scottish Prison suicide prevention strategy, ACT [Assessment, Context and Teamwork] aims to bring together staff from all disciplines within prisons to care for those who are at risk of self harm.

The previous Prevention of Suicide strategy was such that any member of staff could identify a prisoner as being at risk of self-harm and that prisoner would often subsequently be located in an anti-ligature cell and be provided with such items for in-cell use as would limit his/her ability to self injure. The onus was on the Medical Officer to then assess what risk the prisoner presented and he alone could reduce the frequency of observations and allow further items for in-cell use.

The thrust of ACT is to care for, not simply observe, the prisoner through the time when they are felt to be at risk of self-harm. If any member of staff or external agency considers a prisoner to be at risk, then a case conference, attended by a member of the nursing staff, residential officer, social worker and the person raising concerns, will be convened. The case conference will make a decision as to what level of risk the prisoner represents and what measures should be instituted in order to care for the prisoner at this time of vulnerability.

Various options for care exist including referral to the Mental Health Team, Prison Social Worker, increased family contact and the use of Listeners.

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Please note that the contents of Throughcare Map have not been updated since 2009. As a result, certain of the processes described here may no longer be current and accurate. We believe however that it remains a useful teaching resource, and would welcome offers of assistance to help bring it up to date.