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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73301 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide in Prison
Journal: Revue penitentiare et de droit penal  Volume:104  Issue:2  Dated:(April-June 1980)  Pages:97-108
Author(s): P E Hivert
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: Suicide rates in French prisons and data on suicide-prone offenders is presented; motivations for inmate suicides and the impact of such acts upon the prison environment are analyzed.
Abstract: According to statistics of the French Department of Justice, the average yearly suicide rate for inmates was below .8 percent, but abrupt rises occurred in 1972 (1.69 percent) and 1978 (1.4 percent); indications are that the rate will continue to rise. The following inmates are particularly liable to take their own lives in prison: (1) inmates on pretrial detention, (2) older inmates, (3) foreign inmates, and (4) violent offenders. The majority of suicides occurs during the first five days of incarceration and during the summer months. Most inmates kill themselves by hanging. The death of a fellow inmates often provokes suicidal reactions in other prisoners. Although the family of the deceased in many cases is partly responsible for the suicide, the members usually put all the blame on the correctional institution and even attempt to sue the prison administration. The prison personnel and outside psychiatrists experience a sense of failure which frequently results in a tightening of security measures. According to clinical research, the predominant motives for prison suicides are (1) a sense of guilt which the offender seeks to overcome through self-punishment, (2) the desire to leave the prison at all cost, and (3) a wordless plea for attention and communication. The speech, which was presented to the French Society for Prisons and Criminal Legislation, includes no bibliographical information and is followed by a brief discussion. --in French.
Index Term(s): France; Inmates; Suicide
Note: Paper presented at the general assembly of the General Society of Corrections and Criminal Legislation held March 26, 1979.
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