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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 94150 Find in a Library
Title: Theory of Suicide While in Police Custody
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1984)  Pages:191-200
Author(s): D B Kennedy
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using a modification of Wheeler's theory of prisonization, one can consider the phenomenon of suicides by prisoners to be a product of the traumatic transition which is associated with the process of being incarcerated.
Abstract: Although prior research has focused on demographic factors associated with suicides by prisoners, the analysis of 39 suicides in Michigan short-term detention facilities during a 2-year period revealed no significant differences with regard to race, age, suicide location, or reason for arrest when the suicide cases were compared with the general arrest trends of the State. Using depression and anxiety as independent variables, Wheeler's U-curve theory of prisonization may be modified to explain sudden custodial suicide. Although both entry and exit from incarceration represent traumatic transitions, entry involves a combination of anxiety and depression whereas release involves mainly anxiety. Thus, suicide is a more likely outcome of entry into custody. Research into the traumatic transitions associated with incarceration could lead to fundamental changes in the way prisoners are handled. Specialized human service workers may replace law enforcement personnel who do not view custodial responsibility as an appropriate law enforcement function. Tables, figures, and 63 references are included.
Index Term(s): Effects of imprisonment; Prisonization; Suicide
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