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Convict suicides in California state prisons hit record high

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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-03-06 01:46 PM
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Convict suicides in California state prisons hit record high

SACRAMENTO - A record number of convicts killed themselves in California prisons during 2005 -- double the national inmate suicide rate, according to state records.

The trend approaching one suicide each week is triggering new complaints from class-action lawyers that the state is stalling prevention efforts. Prison officials deny delays, saying they thwart the vast majority of suicide attempts.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported 44 suicides in an inmate population that is at an all-time high -- nearly 164,000 -- though inmates' attorneys have so far been able to confirm only 41 deaths as suicides. Either figure is up from 26 suicides in 2004, and exceeds the previous record of 36 deaths in 2003.

Using the more conservative estimate, the rate is 27 deaths per 100,000 inmates, compared with a national rate of 14 per 100,000 calculated by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. That rate is falling nationally even as California's rate increases.

The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives puts the nation- wide prison suicide rate at about 13 deaths per 100,000, compared with 11 deaths per 100,000 in the general community

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/1...
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