Year: 2019 Source: Journal of Sexual Aggression. (2019). Published online 30 Apr 2019. SIEC No: 20190368

Suicide is the leading cause of preventable death in US jails and prisons, with rates three to nine times higher than those of the general population. Although suicide in correctional settings has been recognised as a serious problem, the research on suicide among incarcerated individuals remains limited. Individuals who have committed sexual offenses may be at an elevated risk for suicide. Specifically, they have been found to report high rates of hopelessness and depressive mood, and approximately 14% of individuals convicted of sexual offenses have reported a suicide attempt at some point in their lives. Most of these data are based upon official reports and may represent an underreporting of the true prevalence of the problem. The current study provides an analysis of the prevalence and factors associated with self-reported suicidal thoughts and behaviours in a large national sample of individuals convicted of a sexually based crime. Overall, 17.9% of the offenders reported an attempted suicide in their lifetime, 15.1% reported experiencing suicidal ideation but never made an attempt. Risk factors for suicide attempts and ideation for this population are reported. The findings are discussed in the context of suicide prevention and intervention efforts among those who have committed sex offenses.