Largest ever study of self-harm in prisons

Mental-ElfArtcile posted by Andrew Tomlin via The Mental Elf 16-12-13

The largest ever study of self-harm in prisons: prevalence, risk, clustering and subsequent suicide. New research published today in the Lancet shows that up to one in four women prisoners in England and Wales self-harm every year. The largest study of self-harm in prisons also reports that female prisoners are four times more likely to self-harm than male inmates.

Previous systematic reviews have investigated self-harm in prisons (Lohner, 2007 and Dixon-Gordon, 2012) and also the risk factors for suicide in prisoners (Fazel, 2008). The prevalence of self-harm in custody is estimated to be 5-24% (Dixon-Gordon, 2012).

Individual studies have explored the risk factors for suicide in European prisoners and associations have been reported with violent offences (Rabe, 2012), increased cell occupancy (Opitz-Welke, 2013) and self-harm (Humber, 2013). However, individual studies to date have included no more than 500 prisoners who self-harmed, so a more complete study is long overdue.

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