Suicide behind bars: A 10-year retrospective study

Indian J Psychiatry. 2015 Jan-Mar;57(1):81-4. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.148531.


Background: Studies conducted in several countries have found an increase in suicide rates in custody than the general population.

Aims: The aim was to assess the trends of suicide in custody and to identify characteristics.

Materials and methods: We examined all available files of the death of people in custody through 2001 to 2010. Information collected included age, sex, type of custody, place of death, presence of any associated disease, history of any psychiatric illness, substance abuse, and cause of death.

Results: A total 173 autopsies was performed out of which 14 cases were of suicide. The mean age was 31.71 years. 71.42% deaths were noted in police lock-ups while 28.57% were recorded in prison. Hanging was the common method of suicide followed by poisoning.

Conclusion: Suicide in custodial setting is preventable problem in India. Preventing suicide in custody needs cooperation and coordination from various agencies.

Keywords: Autopsy; custody; death; jail; police lock-up; suicide.