The suicide rate for prisoners is often four times that of the general population. While previous studies have tended to rely on official statistics and prison records, "Suicides in Prison" draws directly on the experiences of both prisoners and staff. The interviews conducted by Alison Liebling help elucidate the circumstances which lead to suicide and attempted suicide. She provides further evidence to support the growing notion that suicide is not an exclusively psychiatric problem, but one in which a person's social support and coping mechanisms plays a crucial role.
"Suicides in Prison" shows how serious difficulties in the management of prisoners at risk of suicide may be exacerbated by problems of communication between departments, and that prison officers may lack the necessary training to play a major role in suicide prevention. Furthermore, Liebling insists that if staff perceptions and attitudes are not addressed, any attempt to improve procedures may well by ineffective.
"Suicides in Prison" is of interest to probation officers, social workers and prison wardens, as well as those studying penology courses. It traces the recent history of the problem, providing the first major theoretical discussion of the nature and causes of suicide in prison.
"Although th ebook is nominally a report of the findings of a study of young-prosoner suicides in four young-offender facilities in England and Wales, its value goes far beyond that...Professor Liebling's book is a systematic critique of the previous work on prisoner suicides; an attempt to differentiate between attempted suicide, parasuicide, and self-injury; a critique of the methodology that has come to dominate the study of suicide; and a reconceptualization of the notion of suicide dausation using a model based on the interaction of vulnerability, coping ability, and the situational factors. It has moved to the forefront of work on prison suicides and has become required reading for anyone interested in the topics of prison, suicide, or prison suicides."
-"Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior