Preventing suicide in prisons, part II. International comparisons of suicide prevention services in correctional facilities

Crisis. 2007;28(3):122-30. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910.28.3.122.


The International Association for Suicide Prevention created a Task Force on Suicide in Prisons to better disseminate the information in this domain. One of its objectives was to summarize suicide-prevention activities in the prison systems. This study of the Task Force uncovered many differences between countries, although mental health professionals remain central in all suicide prevention activities. Inmate peer-support and correctional officers also play critical roles in suicide prevention but there is great variation in the involvement of outside community workers. These differences could be explained by the availability of resources, by the structure of the correctional and community services, but mainly by the different paradigms about suicide prevention. While there is a common and traditional paradigm that suicide prevention services are mainly offered to individuals by mental health services, correctional systems differ in the way they include (or not) other partners of suicide prevention: correctional officers, other employees, peer inmates, chaplains/priests, and community workers. Circumstances, history, and national cultures may explain such diversity but they might also depend on the basic way we think about suicide prevention at both individual and environmental levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Prisons*
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States