WALKER COUNTY, Ala (WIAT) — Once a year, correctional officers and deputies with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office participate in a suicide awareness and prevention training program.
Roger Childers, a registered nurse who oversees the medical side at the Walker County Jail, said it’s important to have these training sessions because an inmate is seven times more likely to attempt suicide than someone who is not incarcerated.
“We know that it’s kind of a perfect storm. They’ve lost their freedom, may have lost their job, lost their family, and may be going to prison so the first 24 hours we have to make a significant effort to ask them if they have thoughts like that and then we have a procedure to protect them,” Childers said.
Childers said the COVID-19 pandemic is an added stress to the inmates, which is why the training program is happening at an important time.
“They’re all worried of course. The sheriff did become really proactive less than a month ago and we tested all the inmates and then we got to go around tell everybody you’re negative and that decreased a lot of stress and anxiety but they’re worried just like everyone outside of jail. They’re trying to be protective,” he said.
Childers said they go over basic steps, what to look for, if an inmate is giving away possessions, if they say they’re feeling hopeless or making statements like I have nothing to live for anymore Childers said those are red flags that the corrections officers learn in this training.
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