Released prisoners are almost seven times more likely to commit suicide compared to the general population and suicide was the second most common cause of death, behind drug-related causes, a research review revealed.
A systematic review of nine studies in Europe, the US and Australia found the increased risk is likely to be linked to high levels of mental illness among prisoners, combined with the stress of transition from prison to the community.
The review published in the journal Mental Health Practice examined a total of 460,983 released prisoners to investigate the risk of suicide and all studies showed increased suicide mortality in this group, with 1,102 suicides out of a total of 7,511 deaths recorded.
Solutions for supporting this high-risk group include prison authorities working closely with probation, social and healthcare services in the community to ensure they have access to a complete service.
The researchers also called for the funding of randomised controlled trials to gather an evidence base for developing effective and cost-effective interventions.