What do you do? Inmate's suicide ploy is an attempt to control housing

One inmate has figured out how he can somewhat control where he is housed; how would you handle this scenario before his behavior spreads and affects all inmates in the facility?


Tyler Johnson, an inmate at XYZ Correctional Center, wants to control where he’s housed.

Every time he’s placed in a housing unit he doesn’t like, Johnson alleges he’s going to commit suicide. This action forces staff to follow policy and place Johnson back in a close supervision unit, where he will remain on constant watch.

While Johnson is housed in this unit, he informs mental health staff members that he had no plans to commit suicide and was only attempting to control where he was housed.

What should administration tell their staff to do in this sort of scenario? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
What should administration tell their staff to do in this sort of scenario? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Staff in the mental health unit then inform the administration of the facility that Johnson is merely "playing the system," but, abiding by policy, Johnson is moved again to another housing unit.

[Read: 8 myths about inmate suicide]

Custody staff informs the administration that a trend has been started, and that if they continue to entertain this inmate’s apparent whims, other inmates may also begin to follow in his footsteps.

What should they do to prevent a number of inmates from claiming they will kill themselves in order to control where they are housed?

What should administration tell their staff to do in this sort of scenario? Add your thoughts in the comments.

This training scenario, originally published on 09/11/2015, has been updated.

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