Suicide Risk in Jails
"Once they [people with drug addiction and mental health disorders] are incarcerated, researchers have found that the people’s reaction to jail conditions can exacerbate mental health problems and conditions that may increase their propensity towards suicidal behavior. Newly jailed people experience fear of the unknown, distrust of the environment, isolation from family and significant others, shame and stigma of incarceration, a loss of stabilizing resources and severe guilt or shame over the alleged offense. Current mental illness and prior history of suicidal behavior also intensify in the jail environment.150 These conditions and stressors conspire to increase the suicide rate in jails, as compared to the general population. Compared with a U.S. suicide rate of 17 per 100,000 people, the suicide rate in local jails is 47 per 100,000 people.151 Suicide is second only to illness in the leading cause of death in jails: 25 percent of all deaths in jails in 2006 were suicides.152"
Justice Policy Institute. Baltimore Behind Bars: How to Reduce the Jail Population, Save Money and Improve Public Safety. Washington, DC: June 2010.