Year: 2018 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2018). 22(3): 345-364. SIEC No: 20180502

Self-inflicted deaths in prisons in England and Wales, recently reported as the highest in over a decade, are a significant cause of mortality. A lack of guidelines surrounding the screening and identification of suicide risk of new prisoners along with a dearth of effective screening tools indicate the need for review. Our aims are to examine findings on the effectiveness of prison specific suicide screening tools used with adult prisoners. Papers were identified via systematic searches of databases, scanning grey literature, and reference checking. Included studies were published over the period between 2000–2016. PRISMA guidelines were followed. Studies were selected based on population – adult imprisoned offenders; intervention – suicide screening tool; comparators – participants screened vs. not screened outcome – suicide or attempted suicide. Data was extracted manually. A narrative synthesis presented the findings between different screening tools. Eight screening tools were critically appraised. Evidence suggested that the VISCI and Dutch screening tools are most effective in identifying those at risk and reducing suicide and/or self-harm behavior. Variance in methodological quality and associated factors indicate the need for further development of prospective studies to develop robust screening tools.