I work at a city jail/detention center as the psych Nurse and most Sergeants ask me to clear the inmates for release that are housed in isolation, administrative segregation, or in the psychiatric unit. Every nurse asks different questions to determine if the inmate is ready to be released and to hopefully not see that person back again, because many of them return within a couple of days. I was wondering what questions other nurses ask the inmates before release?
I am only required to ask 4 questions, which are:
- Are you ready to be released?
- Do you have some place to go? (if they are homeless all I need to know if that they have a plan, like a street corner or what not and that they know about available shelters)
- Do you wish to harm yourself? (suicidal thoughts)
- Do you plan to harm anyone else? (homicidal thoughts)
If the answers are yes, yes, no, no, It's bye bye time. I put a legal hold on someone the other day who admitted to me that he wanted to harm his brother. When I asked him, "If I release you right now will you hurt your brother?" He said, "Yes, I plan on killing him." Okay then...that's all I need to know. Officer you may take this man back to his cell, I am placing a legal hold on this inmate and transferring him to a hospital for evaluation.
I like to ask the inmates being released what their plan is to not end up back in jail. I help them make a plan to go to a shelter, get off the drugs and alcohol, and get health care from local free clinics. I also help them make a plan to volunteer or give them contacts for employment opportunities.
I also like to find out if they have kids and determine if the kids are going to be safe. If they have family support or someone they can turn to for help, etc. Some kid of support system.
If the inmates level of functioning is in question, like mentally handicapped or something along those lines I determine if they have a cell phone or money to use a pay phone to call someone to come and get them, because where I work they drive the people 10 miles and drop them off on a cement block because the jail is next to a school and YMCA. If I don't think they can function to find some place to go or to call someone I arrange with the Sergeant to have someone pick that person up directly from jail.
What other questions should I ask? Are there other resources you like to give people? Thanks for your input in advance.