Reducing Inmate Suicides Through the Mortality Review Process
Suicide continues to be a leading cause of death in jails across the country, where well over 400 inmates take their lives each year (Hayes, 1989). The rate of suicide in county jails is estimated to be approximately four times greater than that of the general population (Mumola, 2005). Overall, most jail suicide victims were young white males who were arrested for nonviolent offenses and intoxicated on arrest. Many were placed in isolation and dead within 24 hours of incarceration (Hayes, 1989; Davis & Muscat, 1993). The overwhelming majority of victims are found hanging by either bedding or clothing. Research specific to suicide in urban jail facilities provides certain disparate findings. Most victims of suicide in large urban facilities are arrested for violent offenses and are dead within 1 to 4 months of incarceration (DuRand, Burtka, Federman, Haycox, & Smith, 1995; Marcus & Alcabes, 1993). Due to the extended length of confinement prior to suicide, intoxication is not always the salient factor in urban jails as it is in other types of jail facilities. Suicide victim characteristics such as age, race, gender, method, and instrument remain generally consistent in both urban and nonurban jails.
KeywordsSuicidal Behavior Suicide Prevention Correctional Facility Correctional Staff Psychological Autopsy
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