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Article
December 22, 1989

Prison Rape and Suicide-Reply

Author Affiliations

National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology Assessment Rockville, Md
The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health Baltimore, Md

National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology Assessment Rockville, Md
The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health Baltimore, Md

JAMA. 1989;262(24):3403. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430240037011
Abstract

In Reply.—  We agree with Dr Wiggs that homosexual rape in prison may be a significant risk factor for inmate suicide. However, our data sources (prison census and death investigation information, as well as death certificates) included no information for either the completed suicides or the prison population on the incidence of homosexual rape. Differences between self-reported lifetime prevalence of sexual assaults in prison (up to 9%) and those reported to prison authorities (a handful each year)1 suggest that underreporting of such activities is substantial. This consequently restricts the ability to conduct such studies, even with information from prison authorities on reported rapes. There is a need for more detailed followup to investigate risk factors for prison suicide, including its relationship to prison rape.

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