An anti-suicide smock, Ferguson, turtle suit, or suicide gown is a tear-resistant single-piece outer garment that is generally used to prevent a hospitalized, incarcerated, or otherwise detained individual from forming a noose with the garment to commit suicide. The smock is typically a simple, sturdily quilted, collarless, sleeveless gown with adjustable openings at the shoulders and down the front that are closed with nylon hook-and-loop or similar fasteners. The thickness of the garment makes it impossible to roll or fold the garment so it can be used as a noose. It is not a restraint and provides modesty and warmth while not impeding the mobility of the wearer.
These items are formally known as Safety Smocks and were designed and developed by Lonna Speer in 1989 while she was a nurse working in the Santa Cruz, California, county jail. Safety Smocks are now standard issue throughout jails and prisons in the United States. The same material is used for the anti-suicide blanket. Prior to use of the Safety Smock many jails and prisons stripped inmates naked and held them in a stripped down padded cell with no furniture or protusions of any kind. Some facilities opted to use paper gowns to provide modesty. However, inmates are able to fashion a noose from a paper gown in less than 15 seconds, so most institutions no longer use them. The American Correctional Association (ACA) has established use of appropriate Safety Smocks and Safety Blankets as one of the Standards used to judge jails and prisons for accreditation. Demand for Safety Smocks to meet this ACA Standard led to multiple clothing makers creating similar garments of varying strength and of various materials. In addition to the Safety Smock, Lonna Speer developed the Safety Blanket and the Safe Sleeping Bag, all made from the quilted heavy nylon material, as well as The Dozer, a Suicide Cell mattress, the Safety Pillow, and Safety Slippers.