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J Forensic Leg Med. 2013 Aug;20(6):711-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2013.03.025. Epub 2013 May 18.

The social profile of victims of suicide in major Greek correctional facilities.

Author information

  • 1Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Medical Faculty, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Mikras Asias 75, Goudi, 11527 Athens, Greece. eisakelliadis@forensicadvice.gr



Suicide rates in correctional institutions have been increasing during the last decades. The reasons for this increase remain unclear, yet a lot of contradictory explanations were stated: the increase might be due to mass incarceration and overcrowding of small cells resulting in high psychosocial stress, changes in psychiatric health policy which might have transferred the care for patients from mental hospitals to custodial institutions, or legislation changes that might have led to a selection of offenders at higher risk (e.g. offenders who committed high violent offences or suffered from mental disorders without being referred to psychiatric hospitals). In Greece the situation is not described in details, at least during the last few years. By law, every death of prisoner is subject to medicolegal investigation.


Our study consists of the meticulous research of the data records of major Greek correctional facilities, for the time period 1999-2010. An official permission was obtained from the Hellenic Ministry of Justice, which gave us access to these restricted records. Data was also collected from the Piraeus Forensic Service, from the Department of Pathological Anatomy of the University of Athens and finally from our own records. Measures were taken to respect the anonymity of the cases. Data was collected for the social, penal, medical history as well as for the medicolegal investigation.


A total of 339 cases were collected, only 259 of which had available full data records, due to weaknesses in the prison records. From the 259 cases, 70 incidents of suicide were collected. Victims of suicide in major Greek correctional facilities, appear to fulfill the expected profile, as in the general population.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.


Greece; Prisoners; Prisons; Profile; Social; Suicide

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