Suicide in adults released from prison in Queensland, Australia: a cohort study

Spittal, Matthew J., Forsyth, Simon, Pirkis, Jane, Alati, Rosa and Kinner, Stuart A. (2014) Suicide in adults released from prison in Queensland, Australia: a cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 68 10: 993-998. doi:10.1136/jech-2014-204295

Author Spittal, Matthew J.
Forsyth, Simon
Pirkis, Jane
Alati, Rosa
Kinner, Stuart A.
Title Suicide in adults released from prison in Queensland, Australia: a cohort study
Journal name Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1470-2738
Publication date 2014-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1136/jech-2014-204295
Open Access Status
Volume 68
Issue 10
Start page 993
End page 998
Total pages 6
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher B M J Group
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Previous research has demonstrated elevated mortality following release from prison. We contrasted the risk of opioid overdose death with the risk of suicide in a cohort of adults released from prison in Queensland, Australia over a 14-year-period. We examine risk factors for suicide in the cohort, and make comparisons with the general population.

Method: We constructed a retrospective cohort of all adults released from prison between 1994 and 2007 and linked this to the National Death Index for deaths up to 31 December 2007.

Results: We identified 41 970 individuals released from prison. Of the 2158 deaths in the community, 371 were suicides (crude mortality rate (CMR) 13.7/10 000 person-years) and 396 were due to drug-related causes (CMR 14.6/10 000 person-years). We observed a spike in drug-related deaths in the first 2 weeks after release from prison but no such pattern was observed for suicide. Being married (HR 0.40) and number of prior imprisonments (HR 3.1 for ≥5 prior incarcerations compared with none) independently predicted suicide. Age, sex, Indigenous status, length of incarceration and offence history were not associated with suicide. The standardised mortality ratios indicated that released women were 14.2 times and released men 4.8 times more likely to die from suicide than would be expected in the population.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the rate of suicide in adults released from prison is similar to the rate of drug-related deaths. Strategies that provide support to vulnerable people after release may reduce suicide in this population.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Mon, 29 Sep 2014, 11:33:39 EST by Simon Forsyth on behalf of School of Public Health