In a research letter published in the latest edition of The Lancet, researchers had pointed out that the rate of suicide amongst male prisoners of prisons in UK is much higher than the suicide rates in the general population of the country, bringing to notice the existing conditions of the prisons in UK.
There are around 70 000 men imprisoned in England and Wales, one of the highest proportions in Western Europe. Suicide among male prisoners is known to be higher than the general population, although the magnitude has not previously been reliably calculated.
Researchers from University of Oxford, UK had assessed the suicide incidence in English and Welsh prisons from 1978-2003 (a total of 1312 suicides) and found that the overall suicide rate was five times greater than that of the general male population of similar ages. The suicide rate among young offenders aged 15-17 years was particularly high— around 18 times that of the general male population of the same age.
The research have shown that during the past quarter of a century, suicide in male prisoners in England and Wales has been about five times more common than in the general male population of similar ages. This excess is even greater than previously thought, might be especially pronounced in incarcerated boys, and has been increasing steadily over recent decades. The research did not draw inferences about causation from these data because some of the suicide excesses seen in prisoners may well relate to their characteristics before imprisonment (such as drug use or serious mental disorder). Such considerations, however, reinforce the need for comprehensive improvements in safety and suicide prevention initiatives in English and Welsh prisons.
In an accompanying Comment others have pointed out that despite the high prevalence of mentally ill inmates, little treatment is given in jails and prisons. Therefore, a further increase of suicides may have to be expected if the policy of care for incarcerated individuals is not changed.
Source: The Lancet, Newswise