University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Suicide is often the most common cause of death in correctional settings across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a report stating that suicide "is a public health problem that demands our attention."' Across the world, one suicide attempt is made every three seconds, with one completed suicide every minute. More people die across the world from suicide than by armed conflict. The risk factors for suicide include being a young or elderly male, being indigenous, being an individual with a mental illness or substance abuse history, and being incarcerated or in custody. Further, individuals who have made a past suicide attempt are more likely to complete a suicide.2 This article describes the occurrence of suicide in jails and prisons in the United States and England. It proposes that guidelines from the American Correctional Association (ACA) and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), both published in the early 1940s, may be useful in preventing suicides in jails and prisons.

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