skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 156044 Find in a Library
Title: Deaths in Custody: International Perspectives
Editor(s): A Liebling; T Ward
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 256
Sponsoring Agency: Whiting & Birch Ltd
Forest Hill, London SE23 3HL, England
Publication Number: ISBN 1-871177-42-1
Sale Source: Whiting & Birch Ltd
Marketing Manager
P.O. Box 872
70 Dartmouth Road
Forest Hill, London SE23 3HL,
United Kingdom
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: A collection of papers provides a comprehensive and international overview of the nature and extent of inmate suicide, along with suggestions for successful management and prevention techniques.
Abstract: This edited collection of papers brings together selected contributions to an international conference held at Canterbury, England, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency. The conference brought together academic experts, practitioners, and volunteer organizations from all over the world to develop a greater practical and theoretical understanding of deaths in custody. The papers are organized into the following themes: the nature and scope of the problem, prison suicides in context, and prevention and solutions. A number of the papers are concerned with a definition of the problem. They discuss such issues as how many deaths in custody are actually suicides, when an attempted suicide is genuine, and what should be considered an act of self- harm. These issues are important in framing the nature and scope of the problem of inmate suicide. Three lessons drawn from the research on both prison disorder and suicide are noted. First, the removal of "disruptive" inmates or the isolation of "suicidal" inmates seldom prevents the trouble that staff are trying to avoid; the despair of suicidal inmates is only intensified by isolation and overly restrictive regimes. A second lesson is that the regime experienced by the "mainstream" prison population must be the focal point of prevention strategies, since it is within mainstream situations that most disorder arises and most suicides occur. Third, the quality of life in prison depends largely on the nature of relationships between inmates and front-line correctional officers. The papers on prevention emphasize the importance of screening for suicidal inmates and action based on an awareness of the characteristics of inmates prone to suicide. Contact with familiar and supportive persons from both outside and within the correctional facility are emphasized as a means of providing an environment that will counter feelings of despair and hopelessness. 253 references, chapter notes, and a subject index
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Criminology; Foreign correctional facilities; Inmate suicide; Suicide prevention
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.