The crime for which the inmate has been incarcerated is also seen as a risk factor. Inmates whose crimes were crimes against the person are at a higher risk of committing suicide than those whose crimes were property crimes. Crimes such as violent and sexual crimes produce the highest rates of suicide. This is especially true if the person feels guilt over hurting or injuring the victim (Conacher, 1996, p. 75).

First Nations peoples have proven to have a higher inmate suicide rate than the non-Aboriginal inmate population. Aboriginal people in the general population are 2 to 3 times more likely than non-Aboriginal people in the general population to commit suicide, and in prison, this number is even higher (Choosing Life, 1994, p. 1). For example, female Aboriginal inmates aged 20-29 are 3.6 times more likely than Canadian females in general to commit suicide (Grossmann, 1992, p. 409). A major factor contributing to the high inmate suicide rate among Aboriginals in Canada is the over- representation of Aboriginal people in correctional facilities. Although Aboriginal people represent 3% of the population in Canada, they make up 16% of total provincial/territorial admissions, and 15% of federal admissions (CCJS, 1998, p. 7). The location of correctional facilities are also thought to have an impact on Aboriginal inmates. These facilities are located far away from family and friends, thus causing a sense of loss in many inmates. This sense of loss contributes to many Aboriginal inmates committing suicide. Recently though, facilities have been built for Aboriginal inmates. These new facilities are in closer proximity to reserves, and thus in closer proximity to family and friends. The suicide rates at these new facilities should be examined over the next few years to see if they lower the suicide rate of Aboriginal inmates.

Many of these factors can provide a motivation and play a role in whether or not a person commits suicide. These factors should not be ignored when trying to create programs and methods to reduce the rate of suicide in correctional institutions.



There are two types of suicide prevention efforts which can be undertaken by correctional facilities. These are primary prevention efforts and secondary prevention efforts (Conacher, 1993). Primary prevention techniques are those efforts that reduce overall suicide rates, such as changes in the environment or courses for staff, educating them about suicidal behaviour. Primary prevention requires advance planning, policy changes and higher staffing levels. Secondary prevention efforts are aimed at individuals who have already been identified at risk, whether through attempts, or through feelings expressed (Roger & Lariviere, 1998). These efforts might include "special facilities to house suicidal inmates and allow special observation,...measures to recruit family and friends to help authorities identify those who may be suicidal, and the use of ?inmate observation aides’”(Conacher, 1993, p. 26).