facebook linkedin twitter

Jail Suicide Rates High Due to Inadequate Mental Health Care

February 26, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp

The failure of the prison system to provide adequate mental health care is causing people to kill themselves at high rates, according to a new report. 

The report, published in February in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet, reviewed data from 27 countries, concluding that some of the factors that cause high suicides rates can be modified. 

The modifiable risk factors for suicide noted by the authors included psychiatric diagnosis, suicidal thoughts during the current period in prison, and single-cell occupancy. A more robust health care for prisoners which adequately addressed these factors could reduce the number of suicides in prison, the authors suggested.

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world with 2.3 million people in confinement, according to data from the Prison Policy Initiative. 

More than 1,000 people died in local jails in 2016 in America, according to a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics earlier in the month. About half of these deaths were preventable, and suicide was the most common cause of death, representing about a third of all deaths. 

For contrast, about half of the total deaths could be attributed to some form of disease with heart disease as the second leading cause at about 28% of total deaths, which is slightly less than the suicide rate. Nearly 40% of deaths happened within a week of incarceration.

The 31% death by suicide figure was a 1.9% decrease in deaths from 2015. 

“These preventable deaths are the tragic result of healthcare and jail systems that fail to address serious health problems among the jail population – both inside and out of the jail setting – and of the trauma of incarceration itself,” said the Prison Policy Initiative in a written statement.

Studies have indicated that jail inmates are significantly more likely to have serious mental illnesses than the average American population and more likely to suffer from substance abuse and underlying health conditions. 

Notably, the coronavirus has made jail even more potentially lethal as concerns about the spread of the virus has highlighted the vulnerability of many incarcerated people, opening up questions about how this will ultimately impact the incarceration system in the U.S. 

Criminal Justice

November 24, 2021
by Dan McCue
Jury Hands Down Multiple Guilty Verdicts in Ahmaud Arbery Murder Case

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — All three defendants have been found guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery... Read More

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — All three defendants have been found guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020. The reckoning came shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday after about 10 hours of deliberations. It followed a trial in which prosecutors argued that... Read More

November 19, 2021
by Dan McCue
Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty of All Charges In Kenosha Shooting

WASHINGTON — A jury on Friday found Kyle Rittenhouse, the Wisconsin teenger who fatally shot two protesters and wounded a... Read More

WASHINGTON — A jury on Friday found Kyle Rittenhouse, the Wisconsin teenger who fatally shot two protesters and wounded a third, not guilty of murder and other felony charges. The shootings occurred last summer during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the wake of the murder of... Read More

November 1, 2021
by Dan McCue
Garland Restores Office Providing Access to Legal Services for the Poor

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday re-established a Justice Department office intended to expand legal services to people... Read More

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday re-established a Justice Department office intended to expand legal services to people who can’t afford layers. The Office for Access to Justice was originally launched during the Obama administration to address what the Justice Department then described as... Read More

US to Pay $88M to Families, Victims of SC Church Massacre

WASHINGTON (AP) — Families of nine victims killed in a racist attack at a Black South Carolina church have reached... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Families of nine victims killed in a racist attack at a Black South Carolina church have reached a settlement with the Justice Department over a faulty background check that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the gun he used in the 2015 massacre. The... Read More

October 26, 2021
by Reece Nations
Over 100 Jailed in International Darknet Narcotics Sting

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement in tandem with the European Union... Read More

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement in tandem with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation on Tuesday announced the culmination of the agencies’ efforts to disrupt opioid trafficking on the darknet. The international law enforcement operation,... Read More

October 14, 2021
by Dan McCue
Justices Consider Whether to Reinstate Marathon Bomber’s Death Sentence

WASHINGTON -- On April 15, 2013, two Chechen-American brothers planted a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs near the finish... Read More

WASHINGTON -- On April 15, 2013, two Chechen-American brothers planted a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. At approximately 2:49 p.m. that Monday afternoon, the bombs detonated 14 seconds apart, killing three and injuring 264 others. At least... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top