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Prison suicide in 12 countries: an ecological study of 861 suicides during 2003–2007

Prison suicide in 12 countries: an ecological study of 861 suicides during 2003–2007,10.1007/s00127-010-0184-4,Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epide

Prison suicide in 12 countries: an ecological study of 861 suicides during 2003–2007   (Citations: 6)
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Background  Although suicide rates among prisoners are high and vary between countries, it is uncertain whether this reflects the importation of risk from the general population or is associated with incarceration rates. Methods  We collected data on suicides and undetermined deaths in 12 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England and Wales, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, and Sweden) directly from their prison administrations for 2003–2007. These were compared with rates of suicides in the general population separately by gender using Pearson’s correlations. In addition, they were compared with rates of incarceration. Linear regression was used to examine any association after adjustment for rates of incarceration. Results  Data were collected on 861 suicides in prison, of which 810 were in men. In the men, crude relative rates of suicide were at least three times higher than the general population. Western European countries had similar rates of prisoner suicide which were mostly higher than those in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. There was no association between rates of suicide in prisoners and general population rates or rates of incarceration. In the women, inmate suicide rates varied widely and were mostly raised compared with rates in the general population. In addition, these rates did not appear to be associated with general population rates of suicide. Conclusions  Rates of prison suicide do not reflect general population suicide rates, suggesting that variations in prison suicide rates reflect differences in criminal justice systems including, possibly, the provision of psychiatric care in prison.
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