Critical Issues - Program / Policy Issues
From: The Prison Journal, Vol. 75, No. 4, December 1995, 431-456
Prison Suicide: An Overview and a Guide to Prevention
Lindsay M. Hayes
National Center on Institutions and Alternatives
Until recently, it has been assumed that suicide, although a problem for jail inmates as they face the initial crisis of incarceration, is not a significant problem for inmates who advance to prison to serve out their sentences. Although the rate of suicide in prisons is far lower than it is in jails, it remains disproportionately higher than that for the general population. To date, little research has been generated and few prevention resources have been offered in this critical area. Aside from a scattering of isolated research studies, the dissemination of information regarding prison suicide has been sporadic at best. This article summarizes the findings from a study conducted by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives and includes a thorough review of the literature, the most recent national data on the incidence and rate of prison suicide, and an analysis of an effective prison suicide prevention program.