Monday, May 13, 2024

Adults Recently Released from Jail Account for One in Five Adult Suicide Deaths

Adults who are incarcerated have nearly nine times the risk of dying by suicide within a year of their release than those who have never been in jail, according to a study in JAMA Network Open. The study also found that people who were released from jail within the year accounted for nearly 20% of all adult deaths by suicide.

“The results suggest that better integration of suicide risk detection and prevention across health and criminal justice systems (including 911 calls, police contacts, pretrial jail detention, criminal courts, jail sentences, probation, and parole) is critical to advancing population-level suicide prevention efforts,” wrote Ted R. Miller, Ph.D., of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and colleagues.

The researchers collected data from 10 different studies that examined the causes and rates of mortality among formerly incarcerated individuals. The researchers then used that data to estimate the rate of death by suicide among the nearly 7.1 million adults who had been released from jail at least once in 2019 and compare that with suicide rates of the general population.

They found that compared with adults who had never been in jail, those who had been released from jail had 8.95 times of dying by suicide within one year of release and 6.98 times the risk of dying by suicide within two years of release. The researchers’ model calculated people who were released from jail within the year accounted for an estimated 19.9% of all adult deaths by suicide, but only 2.8% of the adult population.

The researchers noted that it is now possible for health systems to link jail release data (which are typically publicly available) to their patient or plan participant list and are capable of systematizing supportive outreach to patients who were recently released.

“Health systems, including federally qualified health centers, are increasingly positioned to manage care coordination during high-risk transitions from jail to the community and should be recognized as important partners in building the cross-sector infrastructure necessary for identifying high-risk adults and providing comprehensive community-based suicide screening and prevention,” Miller and colleagues concluded.

For related information, see the Psychiatric Services article “Recommended Mental Health Practices for Individual Interacting With U.S. Police, Court, Probation, and Parole Systems.”

(Image: Getty Images/iStock/MivPiv)

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