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Examination of Suicide Attempts Among Incarcerated Sex Offenders

NCJ Number
246441
Author(s)
Elizabeth L. Jeglic, Ashley Spada, Cynthia Calkins Mercado
Date Published
February 2013
Length
20 pages
Annotation
This study examines the rates of nonfatal suicide attempts among a sample (N = 3,030) of incarcerated male sex offenders.
Abstract
Little is known about suicide attempts among sex offenders. This study examines the rates of nonfatal suicide attempts among a sample (N = 3,030) of incarcerated male sex offenders. Overall, the authors found that 14 percent of sex offenders in the study sample had made a suicide attempt at some point in their lives. Of those, 11 percent had reported a suicide attempt prior to incarceration, 0.5 percent had made a suicide attempt while incarcerated, and 2.5 percent made suicide attempts both prior to and during incarceration. Sex offenders who made suicide attempts were significantly more likely than those who did not make suicide attempts to have had an abusive childhood, a history of psychiatric problems, intellectual impairment, male victims, and related victims. Suicide attempters also scored higher on actuarial risk measures than nonattempters. No differences were found in attempter status between sex offenders who committed sex offenses against children and those who committed sex offenses against adults. A history of psychiatric problems and treatment as well as childhood abuse/neglect and perpetration against male victims predicted suicide attempter status. These findings are discussed as they pertain to suicide prevention, risk assessment, and the collateral consequences of sex offender legislation. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.
Date Published: February 1, 2013