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Zhong S, Senior M, Yu R Risk factors for suicide in prisons: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health. 2021; 6:(3)e164-e174

No change on prison suicides

27 January 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 2

The number of suicides among people in prison is higher compared with people of a similar age and sex who are living in the community (Centre for Mental Health, 2021). This is nothing new; year on year these obnoxious statistics are published. People who are in prison are totally dependent on the state for their safety, the high number of suicides would suggest that the state is not doing all it can to provide a duty of care to protect the lives of those in prison.

A self-inflicted death is described as any death of a person who has apparently taken their own life, irrespective of intent. Prisons have seen an unprecedented number of deaths through suicide in recent years (Centre for Mental Health, 2021). Distress, self-harm and suicide attempts are increasing in the prison population and often these are viewed as manipulative behaviours, as opposed to expressions of need and vulnerability.

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