Revised Position Statements Address Juvenile Suicide, Health Care Funding

Posted Nov 4, 2019

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care has revised two position statements in support of youth in juvenile detention and confinement facilities, Suicide Prevention and Management in Juvenile Correctional Settings and Health Care Funding for Incarcerated Youth.

Suicide Prevention and Management in Juvenile Correctional Settings highlights the key components of a successful suicide prevention program in the juvenile correctional setting. First issued in 2007, the position statement has been updated to reflect the most current understanding of trauma and adverse childhood events, suicide risk, and the relationship between the two. While NCCHC’s fundamental guidance has not changed, the position statement has been streamlined for ease in understanding and implementation.

NCCHC recommends that all juvenile correctional facilities—including pre- and postadjudication, small and large, public and private—develop and implement a comprehensive suicide prevention program that takes into consideration the unique characteristics of adolescent suicide. The suicide prevention program should have all of the following key components:

  1. Staff training in suicide prevention
  2. Identification of risk
  3. Communication about suicide risk and behaviors
  4. Housing status
  5. Monitoring level system
  6. Intervention strategies
  7. Post-incident review process

A more comprehensive description can be found in NCCHC’s Standards for Health Services in Juvenile Detention and Confinement Facilities (2015), standard Y-G-05 Suicide Prevention Program.

Health Care Funding for Incarcerated Youth reiterates NCCHC’s support for equality in access and funding for health care and recommends that all youth in public and private confinement and detention facilities remain eligible for all public (e.g., Medicaid) and private health care coverage consistent with state and local eligibility requirements. NCCHC advocates that youth apply for insurance enrollment and participate in prerelease coordination of care to ensure continuity of care upon release into the community, and that states suspend rather than terminate Medicaid insurance following detention in order to facilitate quick reactivation upon release.

Both revised position statements were adopted by the NCCHC board of directors in October 2019. 

View all of NCCHC’s position statements »