Suicide in Greek prisons: 1977 to 1996

Crisis. 1997;18(4):152-6. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910.18.4.152.


Data obtained from the records of the Greek Ministry of Justice revealed that there were 457 deaths in the Greek prison system (which includes prisons, mental hospitals and other general hospitals) over the past 20 years. Of these deaths, 93 were recorded as suicides--an average of 4.65 suicides per year or 112 per 100,000 inmates classified as convinced, on remand or hospitalized. The suicide rates fluctuated widely, from a low rate 32.3 in 1982 to the incredibly high rate of 390.8 in 1979 (11 total suicides, 10 of which occurred in prison hospitals). The present study, the first of its kind in Greece, was based solely on unpublished prison data, which revealed defects in recording (e.g., 11% of the deaths recorded by the correctional administration remained without specification of cause in the years 1977 through 1996; social and penal demographic data of the inmates who committed suicide were kept unsystematically; detailed information on the circumstances of suicide was not always available, etc.). Despite a noticeable decrease in the suicide rate in the years 1995 and 1996, the limited data suggest that the suicide rate in the Greek prison system has basically remained stable over the past 20 years.

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / trends*