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Suicide and self-harm risk in criminal justice involved populations

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This special issue of Health & Justice explores the issue of suicide and self-harm in justice-involved populations. Suicide is a worldwide phenomenon with over 800,000 people taking their lives each year. Eventual suicides are 5 times higher in male prisoners and 20 times higher in female prisoners than in general population controls. Similarly high rates are also demonstrated for people in police custody, the courts and probation services in the community. To address this issue, suicide and self-harm behaviour should be considered in people who self-harm or attempt suicide throughout the criminal justice pathway. Such individuals are often characterised as being at risk either by the nature of their behaviour and or their propensity to risk can occur at any point in the system. Given the importance of this topic this article collection attempts to provide more insights and evidence on how to assess, screen and monitor self-harm and suicidal behaviour in the criminal justice pathway, look towards effective treatment interventions and explore potential training barriers and staff attitudes for people working in the criminal justice system, consider the impact of any environmental factors for people in custody settings, as well as the views of families and perspectives of service users and the impact of suicide and self-harm on their health and well-being.

Edited by Amanda Perry, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK

  1. Correctional officers are critical members of the prison community. However, scholarship rarely considers how correctional officers contribute to prison outcomes instead largely focusing on importation (indivi...

    Authors: TaLisa J. Carter and Tanya N. Whittle
    Citation: Health & Justice 2023 11:10
  2. Prisoners are at increased risk of poor mental health and self-harming behaviours, with suicide being the leading cause of death in custody. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as child maltreatment are ...

    Authors: Kat Ford, Mark A. Bellis, Karen Hughes, Emma R. Barton and Annemarie Newbury
    Citation: Health & Justice 2020 8:13
  3. Complex interacting social, economic and historical factors influence the availability and uptake of alcohol and drugs, including among Indigenous communities. Self-harm and suicide as well as homelessness and...

    Authors: S. Nathan, K. Maru, M. Williams, K. Palmer and P. Rawstorne
    Citation: Health & Justice 2020 8:4
  4. Social problem-solving is one technique used to help reduce incidence of self-harm. Our study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of the adaptation and implementation of a brief Problem-Solving Trainin...

    Authors: Amanda E. Perry, Mitch G. Waterman, Allan O. House and Joanne Greenhalgh
    Citation: Health & Justice 2019 7:14
  5. Histories of self-harm and suicide attempts are common among people in prison in Australia, and substance dependence is an established risk factor for these lifetime experiences. We describe the prevalence of ...

    Authors: Ashleigh C. Stewart, Reece Cossar, Paul Dietze, Gregory Armstrong, Michael Curtis, Stuart A. Kinner, James R. P. Ogloff, Amy Kirwan and Mark Stoové
    Citation: Health & Justice 2018 6:19
  6. Prisoners are at increased risk of self-harm and when either intent is expressed, or an act of self-harm carried out, prisoners in the UK are subject to self-harm/suicide monitoring (referred to as “open ACCT”...

    Authors: Mike C. Horton, Wendy Dyer, Alan Tennant and Nat M. J. Wright
    Citation: Health & Justice 2018 6:18
  7. There has long been concern about the number of people who die in custody in England and Wales, particularly in prisons or police stations. The concern is obviously heightened when people die either at their o...

    Authors: Jake Phillips, Nicola Padfield and Loraine Gelsthorpe
    Citation: Health & Justice 2018 6:14
  8. Suicide is the leading cause of death in prisons worldwide. Improved understanding of the factors associated with suicide is necessary to inform targeted suicide prevention and interventions. Here we aim to (a...

    Authors: Amanda Butler, Jesse T. Young, Stuart A. Kinner and Rohan Borschmann
    Citation: Health & Justice 2018 6:13
  9. The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Deaths in Custody Reporting Program is the primary source for jail suicide research, though the data is restricted from general dissemination. This study is the first to exami...

    Authors: Amanda L. Thomas, Jacqueline Scott and Jeff Mellow
    Citation: Health & Justice 2018 6:11