Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a complex behavior that is not uncommon in the general population, yet little is known about the prevalence of this behavior among incarcerated women. Two studies were conducted to determine the prevalence and incidence of NSSI in federally sentenced Canadian women. In Study 1, a mixed-methods design that included a qualitative interview and a written questionnaire with a sample of 150 incarcerated women was used. In Study 2, archival data were analyzed for a random sample of 400 incarcerated women. Results indicated lifetime prevalence rates of NSSI ranging from 24% to 38%. Incidence of self-injury in a federal institution over a 1-year period was found to be 3.6 per 27.4 person-years (i.e., number of years incarcerated). Both studies indicated that for the majority of women in both samples, NSSI was first initiated in the community, prior to incarceration in a federal correctional institution.

mental health, nonsuicidal self-injury, prison, women offenders
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Department of Psychology

Power, J. (Jenelle), Brown, S, & Usher, A.M. (Amelia M.). (2013). Prevalence and Incidence of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Among Federally Sentenced Women in Canada. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 40(3), 302–320. doi:10.1177/0093854812474427