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Understanding the Impacts of Corrections Officer Suicide

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Dated: November/December 2019
Natasha A. Frost
Date Published
April 2020
7 pages
This article discusses corrections officer suicide, and examines the high rate of suicides by corrections officers working for the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MADOC) between 2010 and 2015.
Between 2010 and 2015, at least 20 corrections officers working for the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MADOC) died by suicide. The average suicide rate for MADOC corrections officers over this period was approximately 105 per 100,000 - a rate that is at least seven times higher than the national suicide rate (14 per 100,000), and almost 12 times higher than the suicide rate for the state of Massachusetts (nine per 100,000). Some counties across Massachusetts also reported the loss of multiple officers to suicide over the same period, suggesting the phenomenon in state prisons was being mirrored in county correctional facilities. Even in the context of rising suicide rates across the country, and recognizing the elevated risk for suicide in the protective service occupations, the number of suicides among corrections officers in Massachusetts has been unnerving.