Recently released prisoners in England and Wales at high risk of suicide

July 06, 2006

Recently released prisoners in England and Wales are at a much greater risk of suicide than the general population, according to a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Several studies have looked at suicide in custody, but few after release from prison. To investigate, Jennifer Shaw (University of Manchester, UK) and colleagues used a national database to identify all individuals in England and Wales who had died by suicide or who had received an open verdict* at the coroner's inquest between 2000 and 2002. The researchers then identified which of these suicides were by people within 1 year of release from prison in England and Wales.

The researchers found that in 244 988 released prisoners, 382 suicides (34 women, 348 men) had occurred within 1 year of release. The suicide rate between recently release women and men was similar, but compared with the general population, the relative risk in women was substantially higher than in men. Recently released men were eight times and women 36 times more likely to commit suicide within 1 year of release from prison than would be expected of their counterparts in the general population. The investigators also found that risk was particularly raised during the first 28 days, during which about a fifth of suicides occurred. The authors concluded that insufficient continuity of care for those with mental-health problems and difficulties finding employment and accommodation upon release may contribute towards the higher suicide risk in recently released prisoners.

Dr Shaw states: "The risk of suicide in recently release prisoners is approaching the level of risk seen in discharged psychiatric patients...Our findings highlight the need for shared responsibility of the prison, probation, health, and community services including social services, housing, and benefits to provide good quality, integrated, mental-health care and social support for prisoners, both before and after release from prison."

In an accompanying Editorial The Lancet comments: "Suicides in released prisoners reflect not only the shortcomings in agencies involved, but ultimately society's attitudes to rehabilitation and re-integration."
-end-
Contact:
Dr Jenny Shaw, Centre for Suicide Prevention, School of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
University of Manchester
M13 9PL, Manchester, UK.
T) 01772 406631 Jennifer.j.shaw@manchester.ac.uk

Notes to editors
*Most open verdicts are conventionally defined as suicide.

Lancet

Related Suicide Articles from Brightsurf:

Suicide prevention in COVID-19 era
COVID-19 presents a new and urgent opportunity to focus political will, federal investments, and global community on the vital imperative of suicide prevention.

Racial discrimination linked to suicide
New research findings from the University of Houston indicate that racial discrimination is so painful that it is linked to the ability to die by suicide, a presumed prerequisite for being able to take one's own life, and certain mental health tools - like reframing an incident - can help.

Factors associated with firearm suicide risk
Researchers compared the risk of suicide by firearm based on sociodemographic characteristics of US adults.

Suicide mortality and COVID-19
Reasons why U.S. suicide rates may rise in tandem with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are explained in this article that also describes opportunities to expand research and care.

Media reports of celebrity suicide linked to increased suicide rates
Media reporting of suicide, especially celebrity suicides, is associated with increases in suicide in the general population, particularly by the same method as used by the celebrity, finds an analysis of the latest evidence published by The BMJ today.

More youth suicide found in poor communities across US
A study led by Jennifer Hoffmann, M.D., from Ann & Robert H.

BU study finds new factors linked to suicide
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers finds that physical illness and injury raises the risk of suicide in men but not women, along with a plethora of other insights into the complex factors that may increase a person's risk of suicide.

Investigating the full spectrum of suicide
A recent study published in Injury Prevention described a method for categorizing self-injury mortality (SIM) to help us better examine national trends for today's epidemics of suicide and drug-related deaths.

Between 16 and 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide
Thinking of taking one's own life (ideation), planning it, threatening to do it or even attempting to do it is regarded as suicidal behaviour.

Social networks and suicide prevention
Depression and mental health problems are increasing - and suicide and drug overdose rates are rising dramatically in the USA.

Read More: Suicide News and Suicide Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.