Suicide and incarcerated veterans--don't wait for the …

"The prison population has decreased dramatically in the last few years," Stone-Manista says. "But the numbers of people with serious mental illness in prison have not. So the ratio of people with serious mental illness is growing and growing."

Disparities in access to care and treatment for mental illnesses have also persisted over time.

Is a Psychotherapist and trainer, who holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a Masters Degree in Counseling/Education. Dr. Nancy Bohl has specialized in the field of trauma since 1985. She is the Director of The Counseling Team International (TCTI), which is also, The Southern California Critical Incident Stress Management Team. She is a certified Master Trainer for the QPR Institute focusing on Suicide Prevention and Intervention.


The Aaron Hernandez Suicide: A Football Brain Injury Link?

There were two suicides at the prison in 2015 and at least 23 suicide attempts.

N2 - This article reports the findings from a study of women detained in the women's jail at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City. Interviews were used to gather data on five variables: women's childhood physical and sexual abuse, victimization as adults, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. These findings were analyzed along with biological data on STDs. The conclusions suggest that an association exists between childhood physical and sexual abuse and drug use, suicide attempts, and homelessness in adulthood. The findings indicate that these experiences are common for the population under study, and that a positive association between the variables exists in a sample of incarcerated women. Implications and questions for further research are discussed.


There are two broad categories of "suicide by cop"

The use of this and other similarly structured suicide assessment tools have been found to be a critical ingredient in reducing suicides.

This one page handout highlights key components of a well conducted and documented suicide risk assessment.

Mothers of Incarcerated Sons Society, Inc

Following a career in professional basketball, Brian earned a masters degree in Sports Psychology and Counseling from the University of Idaho. He worked in the business world for several years before joining the Institute in 2002. His special area of interest, speaking, and writing is preventing suicide among student athletes.

Although the warning signs of suicide can be subtle, they are there

With a legal background ranging from duties as a U.S. Air Force Courts Martial Judge to services as Texas' top drug traffic prosecutor, Skip Simpson has created a private law practice in the area psychiatric and psychological malpractice. Profiled in the Wall Street Journal in 1997 for his pioneering work in suicide litigation, Mr. Simpson has been nationally recognized for his expertise in suicide and repressed memory cases. His work has been profiled in C.C. Risenhoover’s book The Suicide Lawyers: Exposing Lethal Secrets.

Why Suicide Has Become an Epidemic--and What We Can …


In 2008, a study by the RAND Corporation found that about 1/5, 300,000 of the more than 1.6 million U.S. troops, witnessed combat action and reported symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. Many of those veterans did not seek treatment for their problems, the study found. The ongoing OIF/OEF wars have yielded many veterans that return from war with incidences of substance abuse, partner relational domestic violence, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), employment, depression, anxiety, suicide, suicidal ideations, redeployment and related issues.
Many veterans encounter the CJS post-deployment or post-discharge and need a treatment alternative vs. incarceration. Some Veterans will not be afforded an alternative, like diversion, based upon the severity of their crime (e.g. murder, sex offender, rape, arson, etc). Veterans in this country appear to be overrepresented when it comes to psycho-social problems like, substance abuse, driving under the influence (DUI), higher rates of unemployment, assaults, intimate partner violence (IPV), family conflicts, homelessness episodes, suicides, PTSD and other problems. Veterans as a group are not overrepresented in the corrections system, but may have special treatment needs (e.g. PTSD, TBI, etc) not provided by the institution. Tragically, some studies report that Veterans in general are twice as likely to commit suicide. Another study (Wortzel, 2009) also suggests that veterans in jail and prisons face an increased risk of suicide. Most Veterans have had more violent offenses, are usually first time offenders and honorably discharged (Noonan, 2004).

Recent 2009 US Department of Labor (DOL) unemployment statistics revealed that veterans have a higher unemployment rate than non-veterans. The aggregate of their problems, studies and statistics profile the timeliness and the urgency of Veterans Treatment Courts, diversion programs and enhanced VA-CJS interface, as we face epidemic proportions. The magnitude of this population and their criminogenic needs has not been established.

The most recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Survey of Inmates in local jails (2002) data indicates that 9.3% of people incarcerated in jails are Veterans. The controlling offense for 70% of these Veterans was a non-violent crime, and 45% had served two or more state prison sentences. At minimum, 90,000 of the 9 million unique inmates annually released from U.S. jails are Veterans. A large majority, 82% are eligible for VA services, having been discharged either under honorable (65%) or general with honorable (17%) conditions. BJS reported in 2006 that 60% of all U.S. jail inmates had a mental health problem. As of 2005, only one in six jail inmates with a mental health diagnosis had received mental health treatment since incarceration. The 2002 BJS Jail Survey also found that 65 % had screened positive for either an alcohol or drug dependency problem. Twenty-nine % had been diagnosed with at least one of five psychiatric disorders (depressive, bipolar, psychotic, PTSD, or anxiety disorder). One in five (18%) Veterans were homeless in the year prior to the current incarceration. Statistics on the jail and prison inmate populations suggest significant health risk for Veterans released from jail.

The war's unpopularity and the prospect of a draft have resulted in enlistment standards being relaxed over the past few years to allow recruitment of those with criminal records. Commonly referred to as the moral waiver process, the Army and Marines did provide waivers for eligible recruits for misdemeanors and some felony offenses. Most of these recruit became OEF or OIF Veterans. Military applicants with no criminal convictions, fines, or periods of restraint are morally eligible for enlistment. However, the voluntary disclosure, or recruiter discovery, of any form of police/criminal involvement by an applicant may require waiver of the moral disqualification. It's important to note here that federal law requires applicants to divulge all criminal history on recruiting applications, including expunged, sealed, or juvenile records. Additionally, in most states, such records are accessible to military investigators, regardless of what you have heard to the contrary. The process begins with an interview by the recruiter, asking the applicant about any records of arrest, charges, juvenile court adjudications, traffic violations, probation periods, dismissed or pending charges or convictions, including those which have been expunged or sealed. A confounding service variable that needs consideration is the Veteran not eligible for VA services and/or having an Other Than Honorable (OTH) or Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD). These Veterans are typically provided an application for military discharge upgrade and provided guidance and support with the process. Although rare, some Veterans with an OTH or BCD are eligible for VA services if they have a service connected disability. They can only be seen for their disability. Veterans with UHC, OTH and BCD discharges have had judicial and court offenses subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The UCMJ provides four methods of disposing of cases involving servicemen's offenses: general, special, and summary courts-martial, and disciplinary punishment pursuant to Article 15 of the UCMJ. General courts-martial and special courts-martial, which may impose substantial penalties, resemble judicial proceedings, nearly always presided over by lawyer judges, with lawyer counsel for both sides.

Historically, reports of World War II, Korean, Vietnam and post-Vietnam era Veterans with histories of civilian or military trauma and service-related injuries suggest an association between trauma and subsequent contact with the CJS. Thus, an association for some Veterans of the Persian Gulf War (PGW). For the majority of Veterans this appears a matter of choice and decision-making to break the law. PTSD symptoms can indirectly lead to criminal behavior (for example, domestic violence, substance abuse, prescription drug abuse, hyper-vigilance, road rage, etc.) or a traumatic incident to a specific crime.

These justice-related services are more commonly provided by VA social workers through the following programs: Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO), Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) and Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC). First, the VJO is an initiative for homeless prevention and avoids the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible justice-involved Veterans have timely access to VA mental health and substance abuse services when clinically indicated, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate. Each VA medical center has been asked to designate a facility-based Veterans' Justice Outreach Specialist, responsible for direct outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails, and liaison with local justice system partners. VJO services include: