During the period 2002-2012, 74 people committed suicide within the Swedish judicial system. During the same period of time 702 self-destructive actions and suicide attempts were reported. The purpose of this work was to investigate and illuminate the causes which are responsible for individuals committing suicide while in custody or in prison. The theory of this work is an ethnographic study of a special social context. A study of literature, statistics and earlier scientific research was used in this study. Furthermore a survey has been conducted at Skänninge prison consisting of six interviews with inmates serving sentences as well as a prison psychologist. The aim of this survey was to show how inmates perceive in the psychosocial environment from their own perspective. Allowing insight into the social context within the prison system is an additional goal of this work, information that is generally unseen by the public.
This research shows a number of different suicidal causes, the most significant indicating that individuals are placed in cells with conditions similar to those of isolation. The European council against torture and human treatment has, at a number of occasions, pointed out and criticised the Swedish Correctional System regarding the isolation of inmates and the extremely long detention periods. The result of the criticism appears to suggest that the isolation is a leading cause of the increasing number of suicides. “Omvådnadsinspektionens” final report (2008) shows, amongst other things, that the risk of suicide is nine times higher for inmates placed in isolation cells rather than those placed in shared cells. Furthermore the investigation shows that the Swedish Correctional system treats the so called “high-risk” population, who have multiple psychological potentially leading to suicide, but document no empirical statistics for the connection suicide psychiatric diagnoses.
In 2007, The Swedish Correctional System reformed their security routines and created a new “security landscape” with electrically strengthened shell protection and other integrity-damaging actions. The reason was to overcome the tragic consequences beginning with three spectacular escapes in 2004. The new Swedish Correctional System must be regarded as the primary reason for a harsher and harder psychosocial environment, thereby trigging suicidal behaviours.
|Date of Award||2013-Jul-10|
|Supervisor||Janissa Gudmund (Supervisor)|
Courses and Subjects
- 30 HE credits
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Sociology (504)