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Suicide in prison : a comparison between France and its European neighbours


  • Géraldine Duthé
  • Angélique Hazard
  • Annie Kensey
  • Jean-Louis Pan Ké Shon


The suicide rate in French prisons has increased five-fold in 50 years, while remaining stable among the general population. The prison occupancy rates do not follow a parallel trend, so overcrowding cannot be the sole reason for this increase. Prisons contain many psychologically vulnerable individuals, with a high suicide risk, whose profile is different from that of the general population. Pre-trial detainees commit suicide twice as often as sentenced prisoners and the frequency of suicide varies according to the gravity of the offence. The prison suicide rate in France, the highest recorded in the EU-15 countries, is 5 to 6 times higher than that of the non-imprisoned male population aged 15-59.

Suggested Citation

  • Géraldine Duthé & Angélique Hazard & Annie Kensey & Jean-Louis Pan Ké Shon, 2009. "Suicide in prison : a comparison between France and its European neighbours," Population and Societies 462, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  • Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:462

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