First Advisor

Christopher Campbell

Term of Graduation

Spring 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice




Prisoners -- Suicidal behavior, Veterans -- Suicidal behavior, Suicidal behavior -- Risk factors, Suicide



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 24 pages)


Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in United States jails and prisons. Many researchers have looked at suicides in prisons and what can potentially cause suicidal ideation but there are conflicting findings among civilian incarcerated populations and United States military veteran incarcerated populations.

The intent of this study is to examine which risk factors are most prevalent among adults in custody, with a focus on mental health and substance use or abuse and how these risk factors differ between incarcerated civilians and incarcerated veterans. Using survey data from the 2002 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and running a logistic regression on three models, a "top five" ranking of risk factors was found for each sub-population.

I found that diagnosed mental health factors were the largest indicators of suicidal ideation within the sample. Veterans differed slightly from civilians in which mental health disorders predicted a higher likelihood of suicidal ideation with other mental condition being the top risk factor for veterans and depressive disorder being the top risk factor for civilians. There was an interesting finding among race that spanned all three models showing adults in custody who self-identified as Native American, Alaskan Native, or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander were at greater risk of suicidal ideation.


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