Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Contact with the criminal justice system may be associated with suicide risk

Date:
February 8, 2011
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Men and women who have had contact with the criminal justice system -- even if they have never received a jail or prison sentence or a guilty verdict -- appear to have a significantly higher rate of suicide than the general population, according to a new study.

Men and women who have had contact with the criminal justice system -- even if they have never received a jail or prison sentence or a guilty verdict -- appear to have a significantly higher rate of suicide than the general population, according to a report posted online that will appear in the June print issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Most published research on suicide and the criminal justice system focuses on prisoners during their incarceration or soon after release, according to background information in the article. Few studies have investigated the risk of suicide among offenders who are not imprisoned. "Some have suggested that community offenders could be even more vulnerable than prisoners," the authors write.

Roger T. Webb, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester, England, and colleagues used national registries to identify 27,219 Danish individuals (18,063 men and 9,156 women) who died by suicide between 1981 and 2006. They also selected 524,899 controls matched by age, sex and time (in other words, the control patients were alive when their matched case died). They then linked this data to another national registry to determine which individuals had exposure to the criminal justice system after 1980.

More than one-third of men who died by suicide (34.8 percent) had a criminal justice history, compared with 24.6 percent of controls. For women, 12.8 percent who died by suicide and 5.1 percent of controls had exposure to the justice system.

The risk of suicide was highest among those who had received custodial sentencing (time detained in prison). However, compared with those who had never been exposed to the justice system, suicide risk was elevated even among those who had never received prison time or a guilty verdict. Suicide was most strongly associated with sentencing to psychiatric treatment and with charges conditionally withdrawn, proceedings in Denmark similar to suspended sentences.

The prevalence of psychiatric admission was high among individuals who had been exposed to the criminal justice system and then died by suicide, especially among women. The risk of suicide was especially high among those with a criminal history who were younger, who had been charged for violent offenses and whose contact with the criminal justice system was recent or repeated.

"We believe that our findings of rising suicide risk with increasing recency and frequency of contact point toward a strong independent effect of criminal justice history," the authors write. "Thus, exposure to the criminal justice system in itself may contribute to elevating a person's suicide risk, rather than simply reflecting the traits and characteristics of people who come into contact with the system."

"The need for developing more far-reaching national suicide prevention strategies is indicated," the authors conclude. "In particular, improved mental health service provision is needed for all people in contact with the criminal justice system, including those not found guilty and those not given custodial sentences. Our findings also suggest that public services should be better coordinated to tackle co-occurring health and social problems more effectively."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Roger T. Webb; Ping Qin; Hanne Stevens; Preben B. Mortensen; Louis Appleby; Jenny Shaw. National Study of Suicide in All People With a Criminal Justice History. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2011; DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.7

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Contact with the criminal justice system may be associated with suicide risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207165436.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2011, February 8). Contact with the criminal justice system may be associated with suicide risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207165436.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Contact with the criminal justice system may be associated with suicide risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207165436.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins