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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00154

Suicide in Older Prisoners in Germany

 Annette Opitz-Welke1, 2*,  Norbert Konrad1, Justus Welke3, Katharina Bennefeld-Kersteb4,  Ulrich Gauger5 and  Alexander Voulgaris2
  • 1Charité Medical University of Berlin, Germany
  • 2Justizvollzugskrankenhaus Berlin, Germany
  • 3Federal Joint Commitee, Germany
  • 4Institut für Suizidforschung, Germany
  • 5Statistical Consultant, Germany

As in many countries, the numbers of older prisoners are rising in Germany, but scientific information on this group is scarce. For the current study, a survey was used that included all prison suicides in Germany between the years of 2000 and 2013. Suicide rates of the elderly prisoners exceeded the suicide rates of the general population and the same age group. We observed a continuous decrease in the suicide rate of elderly prisoners. When compared to the younger suicide victims in prison, significantly more elderly suicide victims were: female, of German nationality, remand prisoners or serving a life sentence. In Germany, elderly prisoners are a vulnerable subpopulation of the prison population. Higher suicide rates than in the same age group in the general population indicate unmet needs regarding mental disorders and their specific treatment.

Keywords: Prison, Suicide, older prisoners, male, Germany, trend

Received: 24 Sep 2018; Accepted: 01 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Athanassios Douzenis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School, Greece

Reviewed by:

Elmar Habermeyer, Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
Georgia Kalemi, Second Department of Psychiatric Clinic, University General Hospital Attikon, Greece  

Copyright: © 2019 Opitz-Welke, Konrad, Welke, Bennefeld-Kersteb, Gauger and Voulgaris. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Annette Opitz-Welke, Charité Medical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany, annette.opitz-welke@charite.de