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Management of Suicidal and Self-Harming Behaviors in Prisons: Systematic Literature Review of Evidence-Based Activities

Emma Barker, Kairi Kõlves & Diego De Leo
Archives of Suicide Research


Systematically analyse existing literature testing the effectiveness of programs involving the management of suicidal and self-harming behaviours in prisons.

545 English-language articles published in peer reviewed journals were retrieved using the terms “suicid*”, “prevent*” “prison”, or “correctional facility” in SCOPUS, MEDLINE, PROQUEST and Web of Knowledge.

Twelve articles were relevant, six involving multi-factored suicide prevention programs, and two involving peer focused programs. Others included changes to the referral and care of suicidal inmates, staff training, legislation changes and a suicide prevention program for inmates with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Multi-factored suicide prevention programs appear most effective in the prison environment. Using trained inmates to provide social support to suicidal inmates is promising. Staff attitudes towards training programs were generally positive.



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