Suicide prevention program saves 170 lives in Georgian jails

Rustavi Prison #5. Photo by N.Alavidze/, 25 Jul 2016 - 18:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

No prisoner has committed suicide in Georgian prisons in 2016 thanks to the suicide prevention program the country approved earlier this year.

Today Georgia’s Ministry of Corrections said during the past seven months no case of suicide was reported in Georgian jails, and thanks to a new program 170 inmates at risk of committing suicide had their lives saved.

The agency believed this was a result of the Accused/Prisoner Suicide Prevention Program, which the Ministry approved in February 2016.

Before being approved for implementation in prisons nationwide, the program was piloted in prisons throughout the country since December 2013.

The program aimed to identify inmates with suicidal thoughts, assist them to get out of that way of thinking, change their mind set and develop and implement an individual plan for each inmate at risk of suicide.

The Ministry said the pilot project was successful and since it was first implemented, 170 inmates at risk of suicide had been saved from a suicidal crisis.

Within the program about 800 corrections system personnel underwent special training where they learned how to handle an inmate with suicidal tendencies. Those involved in the program included jail directors, medical staff, psychologists and social workers.

Currently the trained staff are working with 71 male, eight female and one juvenile prisoners who have been identified as at risk of potentially committing suicide.

In recent years the number of inmates who committed suicide while serving their sentences in Georgian prisons was decreasing.

Figures showed in 2013 six prisoners committed suicide; in 2014 this number was 7; and in 2015 this number was 2.