Below: Number of suicides (total N=127) among released prisoners in Sweden 2005-2009 by month of release. The fifth year is not shown since no suicide occurred.
We identified 38,995 releases among 26,953 prisoners (7.6% females) during 2005-2009. Overall, 127 suicides occurred, accounting for 14% of all deaths after release (n=920). The mean suicide rate was 204 per 100,000 person years yielding an incidence rate ratio of 18.2 (95% CI 13.9-23.8) compared with general population controls. Previous substance use disorder (Hazard Ratio [HR]=2.1, 1.4-3.2), suicide attempt (HR=2.5, 1.7-3.7), and being born in Sweden vs. abroad (HR=2.1, 1.2-3.6) were independent risk factors for suicide after release.
Released prisoners are at high suicide risk and with a slightly different pattern of psychiatric risk factors for suicide compared with the general population. Results suggest appropriate allocation of resources to facilitate transition to life outside prison and increased attention to prisoners with both a previous suicide attempt and substance use disorder.
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