, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 219-225
Date: 22 Jun 2014

National total Survey of German adolescent Suicide in Prison

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Abstract

Incarcerated adolescents are a high-risk group for suicidal behaviour, but data on completed suicide are scarce in this population. The present study aimed at calculating relative risks (RR) of suicide in detention and identifying age-related risk factors. We compared data of a German national total survey of completed suicide of young detainees (14 to <21 years, N = 79) during the years 2000–2010 with age- and gender-adjusted suicide deaths in non-incarcerated adolescents (N = 3,484) and incarcerated adults (N = 781). Prison suicide accounted for 2.3 % of all suicide deaths in adolescents, but only 0.1 % of this age group was detained. The RR = 23.0 for adolescent suicide in detention exceeded the RR = 7.7 of adults by far. In adults, suicide rates in pre-trial detention was fivefold higher than in criminal detention; suicide rates were more balanced in adolescent detainees. Our results underline the need for age-specific suicide prevention strategies in detention.