This paper reviews the literature on prison suicide. The characteristics of suicide within the Canadian Federal Penitentiary Service are compared with previous data. In the population examined, prison suicide was found to be a predominantly male phenomenon, not associated with age, offence type, previous convictions or length of sentence. It was most commonly committed by hanging, frequently occurring in the period shortly after sentencing. Suicide was associated with single marital status, earlier suicide attempts, a history of drug or alcohol abuse, and a previous history of psychiatric illness.