Teisė ISSN 1392-1274 eISSN 2424-6050

2020, Vol. 116, pp. 147–156 DOI: https://doi.org/10.15388/Teise.2020.116.11

Suicides in Penitentiaries and Detention Centres

Angelika Rzeźniczak
PhD student, advocate
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow Uniwersity (AFMKU)
Faculty of Law, Administration and International Relations
ul. Gustawa Herlinga-Grudzińskiego 1, 30-705 Kraków 
Phone: 0048506143202
Email: rzezniczakangelika@gmail.com

This article deals with the problem of suicides and self-inflicted injuries in prisons and detention centres. The main aim of the article is an attempt to determine the characteristics of a prisoner who performs self-destructive behavior. The second aim is to get to know better the problems of inmates committing suicides. Knowing these problems will help to find preventive solutions. The article describes the information collected during interviews with 18 people, including: prisoners (women and men), prison chaplains, directors of prisons, officers and employees of penitentiary units. 
Keywords: suicides, self-inflicted injuries, the penitentiary system, prison, pre-trial detention.

Savižudybės laisvės atėmimo vietose ir sulaikymo centruose

Šiame straipsnyje nagrinėjama savižudybių ir susižalojimų problema kalėjimuose ir sulaikymo centruose. Pagrindinis šio straipsnio tikslas yra bandymas nustatyti kalinio, kuris elgiasi destruktyviai, savybes. Antrasis tikslas yra geriau pažinti kalinių problemas – dėl ko jie žudosi? Žinios apie šias problemas padės rasti prevencinius sprendimus. Straipsnyje aprašoma informacija, surinkta apklausus 18 žmonių, įskaitant: kalinius (moteris ir vyrus), kalėjimo kapelionus, kalėjimų vadovus, pareigūnus ir įkalinimo įstaigų darbuotojus.
Pagrindiniai žodžiai: savižudybės, susižalojimai, laisvės atėmimo vietų sistema, kalėjimas, suėmimas.

Received: 05/05/2020. Accepted: 03/07/2020
Copyright © 2020 Angelika Rzeźniczak. Published by
Vilnius University Press
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The discussion of suicides in penitentiary institutions of a closed nature is also a result of my professional work and direct contact with prisoners. The life of incarcerated people is controlled by omnipresent prohibitions, orders and inconveniences. Such circumstances, combined with the loss of freedom, separation from the environment and often degradation, encourage self-destruction. The atmosphere in prisons and detention centres contains a number of conditions which allow to characterise the phenomenon in these specific social groups. Considering the fact that the phenomenon of suicide itself occurs as a result of giving up life, all the circumstances connected with this phenomenon, starting with the manner of committing suicide, the reason and the decision-making process among persons living in freedom, differ significantly from the specific environment of detainees. The decision to discuss suicides in prisons and pre-trial detention centres is also a sum of experiences which show that differences exist not only between prisoners and people living in freedom, but also between prisoners themselves, depending on the phase of the criminal proceedings. All these factors have stimulated the need for research into suicide in a group of prisoners from the sociological, criminological, judicial and prison system points of view.

The examination of the problem of suicides in penitentiaries and detention centres from the perspective of persons having direct contact with detainees, at various stages of court proceedings and in prison, will allow for a comprehensive characterisation of the phenomenon of self-aggression and the presentation of factors that may constitute the pillars of behaviour directed by the entity acting in order to destroy itself. The analysis of the conducted interviews included, first of all, a distinction between detainees in prisons and detention centres, then a distinction between sex, age, type of crime committed, belonging to a subculture, amount of imprisonment, contact with family, faith, methods of performing acts of self-aggression, impact of operational and exploratory activities, dangerous status and other individualised features, which in specific cases became a motive for committing autoaggressive acts in conditions of penitentiary isolation. Many authors of publications on the phenomenon of suicide treat this topic superficially, focusing mainly on the distinction between types of self-aggression and the way of self-inflicted injuries. It is important from the point of view of this topic, however, is a deeper development of the thread of man deprived of liberty, and not an instrumental approach to the prisoner, discussion over the years of changes in the executive penal code, confrontation of the problems of prisoners with the possibilities of solving them in conditions of isolation, individualization of motives that may be the cause of suicide and resignation from the creation of a typical image of a suicide in conditions of penal isolation.

The Phenomenon of Suicide in Penitentiary Units

The main aim of the conducted research was an attempt to establish the profile of an inmate – a suicide in prison isolation. The information gathered in the course of the research made it possible to achieve two additional side goals. They have a cognitive and pragmatic character. For cognitive purposes, I decided to identify individual characteristics and factors predisposing a prisoner to undertake suicidal behaviour and to establish general external determinants relating to their possible influence on the occurrence of widely understood autoaggressive behaviour among prisoners in prisons and detention centres. The pragmatic aim was to increase knowledge of the phenomenon of suicide in conditions of imprisonment, leading to, among other things, verification of the preventive capabilities of penitentiary units, confronting the problem of widely understood autoaggressive behaviour with the binding provisions of the executive penal law, the ability of the prison to perform the function of rehabilitation and the influence of the repressive nature of the penal system on the occurrence of suicidal behaviour.

The phenomenon of suicide is significantly influenced by its dualism. The authors of the definitions of suicide that appear in the literature mutually depreciate their value. In the classic literature of 1897, the work Le suicide by Emil Durkheim, the definition of suicidal death as a result of translations and interpretations of the author’s thoughts has adopted the following sense: “Suicide is defined as any case of death that directly or indirectly results from the positive or negative action of a victim who knew that it would produce such a result” (Durkheim, 2006, p. 51). In the presented definition of suicide, Durkheim considered as its constitutive feature the awareness of the effect of an individual who takes actions leading to death. Maurice Halbwasch, a native of the Durkheim school, analyzing the genesis of suicide, formulated a thesis about the similarity between suicidal acts and human victims (Majkowski, 2012, p. 332). Halbwasch’s interpretation assumes that suicidal death is an expression of obedience to the voices of society. On the basis of his considerations, he defined suicide as “any case of death resulting from an act performed by the victim himself in the intention, or at least with anticipation (avec l‘intention ou en vue) of killing himself, which, however, is not an act of self-sacrifice” (Deshaies, 1947, p. 4). Edwin Shneidman, creator of American suicidology,1 when asked about the essence of suicide, replied that “it is a mystery” – and created his own definition of the phenomenon as a “deliberately taken action aimed at self-destruction; [an] action that can be described as a multidimensional disorder occurring in an individual whose needs are not met and who himself defines the problem in which he sees suicide as the best solution” (Shneidman, 1994, p. 203).

In 1986, the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed a comprehensive definition containing the most relevant elements of all considerations to date: Suicide is an act that has a fatal effect and that has been planned and carried out by the deceased with the knowledge and expectation of such an effect in order to bring about the changes he desired.

It is estimated that every 40 seconds someone in the world commits suicide – some of these acts take place among prisoners. Due to the increase in the number of suicides, this phenomenon is a research and development topic. The lives of detainees in prisons and detention centres are subject to prohibitions, orders and inconveniences. Such circumstances, combined with loss of freedom, separation from the environment, and often degradation, are conducive to the phenomenon of suicide. Suicide committed in conditions of penitentiary isolation is an objection to the penal system, conditions of punishment, personal relations. In addition to these external factors, the personal characteristics of each prisoner are important. The question arises at this level to what extent prison isolation and the associated rigours – different from the rules of life outside the prison – are the cause of the increasing number of suicides by detainees.

Differences exist not only between prisoners and people living in the wild, but also between detainees themselves, depending on the phase of criminal proceedings. The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the present Protocol and will continue to monitor the implementation of the present Protocol and the present Protocol and the present Protocol and the present Protocol. This is the most stressful phase, accompanied by changes in family relationships, individual reactions to loss of liberty, to the demands of living in prison isolation in itself and in relation to co-prisoners. However, this does not allow for a general statement that the risk of suicide decreases at a later stage of the sentence. Depending on the mental state and personality traits of the prisoner, there may be a feeling of lack of an alternative to managing his or her life as well as a feeling of loneliness. This feeling shall be experienced by prisoners who have broken off contact with the world outside the prison walls, and who additionally withdraw from prison relationships. The third group includes people with different types of disorders. Demonstration suicides aimed at manipulating the environment also appear. Attempts at suicide are made to get the staff’s attention or to get something desired. It is about forcing certain reliefs (prison benefits), for example, in the form of extra vision, changing a residential cell, transporting to another penitentiary unit. Unfortunately, we often do not know where the manipulation ends and the threat to life begins. There is information that prisoners commit suicide under the influence of co-prisoners or prison staff. Research shows that in women’s prisons there is a greater risk of suicide under the influence of the environment than in men’s prisons. Women in penitentiary isolation shall be ruthless towards fellow prisoners. The phenomenon of situational homosexuality still exists relatively more often in women’s penitentiaries than in men’s penitentiaries. Entering into erotic relationships within the prison structure does not depend on actual sexual orientation, but on the need of the moment. In such relationships, men are guided by physiological considerations, while women have complex motives. These are purely hedonistic and pragmatic motives combined with a search for closeness with another person. When such a relationship based on a strong bond is broken, the inmates make suicidal attempts.

In isolation, pastoral care plays an important role. Prison ministry deals with religious service in prisons, detention centres and outside branches (Wdowiszewski, 2016, p. 340). The pastoral and penitentiary work with detainees is aimed at shaping religious attitudes, which are to result in the adoption of appropriate social attitudes. The pastoral ministry therefore has a function of social rehabilitation, affects the conditions of adaptation and the adoption of a wide range of self-aggressive behaviour by detainees. In Poland, the beginning of pastoral ministry in prisons is the date 18 September 1550 (Bedyński, 1994, p. 11). On that day, Stanisław Ocieski, the Chancellor of the Crown, issued an instruction on the obligation to give clerical practices to inmates. The religious practice of inmates includes participation in sacramental life, prayer and deepening of spiritual life. Prison ministry is the realization of the right of detainees to practice their chosen religion freely and the right to use the services of authorized persons. The role of the priest in penitentiary units is multidimensional. The priesthood is one of the tasks evangelised by the Church, and the provision of spiritual care for prisoners is regulated in the Constitution and the Concordat, among others,2 but the provisions of the Criminal Executive Law and the Law on Prison Service are essential. According to the content of Article 53, paragraphs 1 and 2 of3 the Constitution, every citizen is guaranteed freedom of conscience and religion, including the right to benefit from the help of religion regardless of where he or she is. Ensuring the possibility for inmates to perform religious practices, participate in Holy Mass or use religious services is regulated in Article 17, paragraphs 1 and 2 of4 the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Poland. Once the Act enters into force, it is this Act that regulates the religious practices of detainees.5 Article 106 of the Executive Penal Code6 guarantees sentenced persons the right to exercise religious freedom. The basic tasks of the prison service are to respect the right of detainees and sentenced persons to carry out religious practices7. Restrictions on the exercise of religious freedom by detainees may be imposed only if there has been a breach of the rules of tolerance or if the order established in the prison has been disturbed (Nikolayev, 2009, p. 381–385). Father Jan Sikorski, who is the first Chief Prison Service Chaplain of the Roman Catholic Church, referring to the role of the priest in conditions of penitentiary isolation, indicates that: “the role of a prison priest is determined by his Christian and priestly vocation. […] We make the priesthood of Christ present by leading the lost fruit through the sacrament of Penance to the Eucharist, celebrated in spite of prison conditions with the dignity and respect due to it. Among other things, we fulfil Christ‘s pastoral mission by organizing pastoral groups among prisoners, teaching them to act independently” (Pol, 2008, p. 65–66).

In the face of large-scale suicide, it has become necessary to find a direction to prevent suicide by prisoners, but this is not possible without identifying motivational processes. It is necessary to identify people with a higher suicidal risk.

An additional preventative factor is the strict supervision that should be exercised over persons staying for single purposes. The effect of the Prison Service’s application of protective measures is that a regime of both pre-trial detention and imprisonment is created. It should be stressed, however, that there is often abuse in this area. It is unacceptable for other prisoners to be subject to the same security procedures and measures as those which apply to prisoners who pose a social or serious threat to the security of the prison.8

Research clearly shows that the Prison Service applies recommendations that restrict the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, who do not have a statutory mandate or significantly increase the disorder of deprivation of liberty, exceeding the level of inconvenience inherent in being in prison isolation. All the respondents stressed that in prisons very often a regime is applied to prisoners (suspects, accused of crimes that are less socially harmful than those catalogued in Art. 88a of the Code of Civil Procedure) that is the same as that applied to prisoners posing a serious social threat or a serious threat to the security of the prison, i.e. so-called dangerous prisoners. Very often these procedures have a different purpose than that assumed by the legislature, and are a way of obtaining the desired explanations from the prisoner in a case pending against him or her.

Temporarily detained subjects of such a regime are placed in small-size single-person cells in a ward for dangerous prisoners. This makes it possible to create the same conditions for prisoners with N (dangerous) status. These differences relate to both security and protective procedures: an unbuilt sanitary corner with surveillance cameras, which are recorded, an additional grille, the use of a stroller with additional security cameras, each leaving and returning to the cell is combined with a routine personal check, regardless of the occurrence of any event that affects order and safety and despite the absence of any danger of the prisoner carrying prohibited objects.

The above treatment of detainees was declared inadmissible by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (Milka vs. Poland) (Paluch vs. Poland).

However, these abuses are explained by the protection of the detainee from attempted suicide. However, there is no legal justification for this until there is an indication of danger. The Commission shall be assisted by the European Parliament and the Council in the event of an appeal to the Council and the European Parliament against the use of the European Union’s financial instruments, in accordance with the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Commission shall ensure that the Member States shall ensure that the provisions of this Regulation are applied in a manner consistent with the principles of law and with the principles of proportionality and proportionality that the Commission shall ensure that the measures taken shall be appropriate to the risks identified and shall be tailored to the individual situation of the detainee. The research carried out confirms the thesis that in prisons more often than among people at large there are negative changes in the human psyche, disturbances in the sphere of consciousness, feelings and decision-making, which in turn very often leads to behavioural disorders. The study I conducted was also based on the knowledge and experience gathered by psychologists working with inmates. The study also drew on the knowledge and experience gathered by psychologists working with detainees. They clearly indicated the inadequacy of the conditions of imprisonment created – the isolation to which a prisoner is forcibly subjected – to the requirements of the proper mental and physical functioning of the individual.

It is characteristic of the group of prisoners that there is a higher suicide rate than among their counterparts in the general population.

In detention centres, the suicide rate is ten times higher and in prisons where prisoners are held, the suicide rate is three times higher than in society at large. Profiling of potential suicide victims is extremely difficult, studies show that those in custody differ from those in prison in terms of certain basic risk factors relevant to suicide.

The World Health Organization has distinguished two profiles divided according to personal characteristics to create a pattern of a suicide inmate:

Profile 1: Pre-trial suicide in custody, usually young men (20–25 years), unmarried, first time in conflict with the law, arrested for minor offences, usually related to alcohol or drugs. They are generally under the influence of narcotic drugs at the time of arrest and commit suicide within the first 24 hours of arrest.

Profile 2: A second period of increased risk occurs when a detainee is brought before a court, especially when he can expect to be convicted and face a severe punishment: suicides in this group are generally older (30–35 years), convicted of violent crimes, and commit suicide after a longer period of imprisonment (after four to five years).

However, the research I have carried out indicates that such a distinction can only be an indication for preventive action. In principle, it is not possible to create a profile of a suicide inmate. Because of the multiplicity of factors that contribute to this act of self-aggression, creating a rigid profile of a suicide in custody or prison is unreasonable and often pointless.

Regardless of the profiles outlined above, detainees who are in prison – those who are under arrest and convicted of suicidal tendencies – have many things in common. On this basis, appropriate preventive measures can be taken against people who are suicidal.

Suicide can also happen after a conflict within the prison with fellow prisoners or prison authorities, after a family conflict or breaking up with a loved one, or after negative court decisions such as rejecting the appeal or refusing parole. Prisoning can mean loss of liberty, loss of social and family support, fear of the unknown, fear of physical violence and sexual harassment, insecurity and fear of the future, shame and guilt about the crime, and fear or stress about poor environmental conditions. Over time, detention brings additional stress due to conflicts within the prison, victimisation and mental health.

Suicide is beginning to be seen as the only way out of a desperate and difficult situation. It must be assumed that for those who talk about their difficult emotions or admit their intentions or plans to commit suicide, the risk of suicide is high. Much more suicides are committed by men (they are the overwhelming majority of those deprived of their liberty) – but the risk of suicide for women is also high. Prisoners attempt suicide five times more often than women in prison than their female counterparts and twice as often as men prisoners with similar characteristics. The rates of serious mental disorders among prisoners are the same for women and men. It is surprising that the individual risk characteristics of suicide risk are still not defined for women awaiting trial in prison and for women prisoners.

The preventive actions taken are targeted at women without social and family support, who have already taken suicidal behaviour before, and women who have an interview indicating that they suffer from a mental illness or emotional disorder. All of these factors have provided the impetus for research into the phenomenon of suicide in a gender-neutral group of prisoners, which is needed from the sociological, criminological, judicial and prison system perspectives.

As a research method, a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the research material was used, i.e. individual structured in-depth interviews and obtained statistics of the prison service. The main aim of the qualitative research was to examine whether and to what extent the penitentiary isolation system performs its main duty of keeping prisoners alive.

In addition to the main objective of creating criminological characteristics of an individual deprived of his or her liberty threatened by self-destructive behaviour, an attempt was made to verify the following hypotheses:

1. There is a close relationship between the phase of criminal proceedings and the occurrence of widely defined autoaggressive behaviour among prisoners;

2. The reduction in the number of self-destructive behaviour among detainees is mainly influenced by religion and faith;

3. The number of suicides or self-inflicted injuries depends on changes in the implementing penal code;

4. The sex of the prisoner influences the type of factors determining self-destructive acts;

5. The support of loved ones is a sine quo non for avoiding suicide attempts in an inmate, including an individual classified as a risk group;

6. The amount of the sentence served or the type of offence committed are factors which directly influence the prisoner’s attempt at suicide or self-inflicted harm;

7. Self-destruction and suicide attempts are dependent on the actions of the co-educated and the prison staff.

The interviews conducted made it possible to confront information from the source environment, which are prisons and detention centres, with the statistics of the prison service presented and collected. Given the nature of the problem, in which human health and even life play the most important role.


With regard to the suicides of women in prison and pre-trial detention, it is undeniable that the number of suicides committed by women in the prison environment is much lower than that of men. From a statistical point of view, this result is closely linked to the overwhelming number of men deprived of their liberty. The disproportion of which one of the interviewees spoke is identical to that of the population outside the prison environment. On the other hand, the number of suicides among women prisoners with certain characteristics in isolation is higher than the number of suicides among women with identical characteristics outside prison isolation. The highest percentage of women capable of performing widely understood self-destructive behaviours are those with dissocial personality (psychopathy) and personality disorders (sociopathy). Self-destruction in this group of prisoners can occur when a mental crisis occurs. The characteristics of the mental structure of the female sex are intrinsically linked to their behaviour in penitentiary isolation. The interviewees unanimously stated that, in contrast to the dignity of men, women look for warmth, positive emotions, understanding and acceptance. They make attempts to escape from internal isolation by creating conditions in the conditions of penitentiary institutions similar to those they know from the outside world. This affects the creation of relationships by female prisoners. This phenomenon called situational homosexuality is mainly motivated by a lack of emotions, very rarely in these relationships is the meaning of a sexual relationship. Most often the search is stopped at the stage of exchange of emotions between the partners. A characteristic feature of these relationships is a lack of permanence, they usually end when one of the partners leaves the penitentiary unit. This moment is the most suicidal for the partner who is abandoned in favour of the other partner‘s return to the heterosexual relationships left at large. At such moments, there is also a risk of blackmailing her to pass on the details of the relationship to her loved ones. On the one hand, these relationships are a protection against suicide, but over time they may become its motive. The risk of self aggression in women may occur when the prisoner is sexually abused. The majority of the interlocutors agreed that women in prison isolation are more ruthless than men in prison. The most important factor in preventing women from committing suicide is to keep in touch with their loved ones and receive constant support from them. The most difficult thing to do is to put up with the isolation of women who leave their underage children at large. This is the case for the group of women who have properly performed their parental responsibilities before prison. The prisoner shall often manipulate the surroundings and there shall be cases of abuse and deliberate intimidation. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in the United States of America and the United States of America. They also emphasized that such a profile does not exist. Every self-aggressive behaviour is individualized by external factors and the characteristics of the individual in a particular case. The group most vulnerable to widely understood auto-aggressive behaviour is pre-trial detainees. This is determined by the phase of criminal proceedings. The detainees live in permanent tension and fear for the future. They do not know what awaits them, how the criminal trial will end and how much time they will spend behind prison walls. This situation can lead to a psychological crisis, especially when an individual notices that the trial is not going well. All the interlocutors indicated contact and support of their loved ones as a necessary condition in the process of preventing the occurrence of auto-aggressive behaviour in conditions of penitentiary isolation. Maintaining good relations with the family can be the only argument to continue living. Most of the interviewees considered it extremely dangerous to carry out operations and reconnaissance on the territory of penitentiary units. They may lead the unit to a suicide attempt. The problem is also the lack of proper legal regulations concerning. Over the years the ways of doing self-destruction have changed and their brutalization has decreased. Classical cuts and swallows are still the most popular. The changes in this respect are the result of a reduction in the importance of prison subculture. The interviewees unanimously denied that the type of crime committed had an impact on the occurrence of self-aggressive behaviour among prisoners in the broad sense. They emphasized that this could only affect the way in which co-inmates are treated. Prisoners serving prison sentences for crimes related to family abuse, sexual exploitation of minors and murder of children are particularly vulnerable to reluctance on the part of co-prisoners. In order to avoid abuse of such prisoners, they are often placed on so-called security guards. The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of the provisions of this Regulation and will continue to monitor the implementation of this Regulation and will continue to monitor the implementation of this Regulation and will continue to monitor the implementation of this Regulation. They call this state of isolation, and the conditions in which the detainees are kept are contrary to human nature. The risk of suicide may occur as a result of abuse not only of fellow prisoners but also of prison staff. The interlocutors have agreed that there is a shortage of officers with the right predispositions. The staffing shortages are unanimously cited as the greatest problem of the penitentiary in the context of preventing suicides. The lack of a sufficient number of psychologists and numerous official duties mean that in practice they can spend little time for detainees. All interlocutors opposed the process of dehumanisation of detainees, stressing that this is an approach which prevents the establishment of any constructive relationship with them and, consequently, the introduction of effective prevention.


Bedyński, K. (1994). Duszpasterstwo więzienna w Polsce. Warsaw: First Business College.

Durkheim, E. (2006). Le suicide. Étude de sociologie, Le suicide. Warsaw: Krzysztof Wakar.

Deshaies, G. (1947). Psychologie du suicide. France.

Majkowski, W. (2012). Emil Durkheim – researcher and inspirator. Bejmy, U. (ed.). Warsaw.

Nikolayev, J. (2009). Specificity of Prison Pastoral Care in Poland. Presentation of own research. In Theology in Poland X years of the Executive Penal Code.

Pol, J. D. (2008). Prison Chance. Warsaw.

Shneidman, E. (1994). Definition of suicide. Northvale.

Wdowiszewski, A. (2016). Duszpasterstwo więzienna (Prison Chaplaincy). In Ciosek, M. (ed.). Psychologia penitencjarna (Penitentiary Psychology). Warsaw: B. Pastwa – Wojecieciechowska.

Suicides in Penitentiaries and Detention Centres

Angelika Rzeźniczak
(the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Academy in Krakow)


The author points out in the paper the factors that favour suicides in prisons and detention centres. The results of the research have clearly shown that there is no profile of a prisoner who commits suicide. Autoaggressive behaviour results from individual characteristics and specific situations of an individual. The detainees live in uncertainty, fearing for their future. Such a situation may lead to a psychological crisis. In penitentiary isolation, contact with loved ones is the most important thing. Maintaining good relations with one’s family can be the only reason to continue living. The results of research show that inmates most often commit suicide by hanging – this applies to women and men. Additionally, the results of the research showed many problems of the penitentiary system. These include the lack of qualified staff (including psychologists and psychiatrists), the lack of legal regulations concerning operational and reconnaissance activities in prisons, and the lack of proper preventive effects on detainees with suicidal tendencies.    

Savižudybės laisvės atėmimo vietose ir sulaikymo centruose

Angelika Rzeźniczak
(Andžejaus Fryčiaus Modževskio akademija Krokuvoje)


Straipsnio autorė nurodo veiksnius, kurie skatina savižudybes kalėjimuose ir sulaikymo centruose. Tyrimo rezultatai aiškiai parodė, kad nėra jokio kalinio-savižudžio profilio. Autoagresyvus elgesys atsiranda dėl individualių asmens savybių ir specifinių situacijų. Sulaikytieji gyvena netikrumu, bijodami savo ateities. Tokia padėtis gali sukelti psichologinę krizę. Pataisos įstaigos izoliacijoje svarbiausias dalykas yra kontaktai su artimaisiais. Gerų santykių su šeima palaikymas gali būti vienintelė priežastis toliau gyventi. Tyrimų rezultatai rodo, kad kaliniai (tiek moterys, tiek ir vyrai) dažniausiai nusižudo pasikardami. Be to, tyrimo rezultatai atskleidė daugelį laisvės atėmimo vietų sistemos problemų: trūksta kvalifikuoto personalo (įskaitant psichologus ir psichiatrus), operatyvinės veiklos ir žvalgybos pataisos įstaigose teisinio reguliavimo spragos, nėra tinkamo prevencinio darbo su linkusiais į autoagresiją sulaikytaisiais.

Angelika Rzeźniczak is a PhD student at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow Academy. She is preparing her doctoral dissertation on suicides in penitentiaries and detention centres. During her legal studies, she was involved in the study of suicides during the political transformation period, i.e. in the years of 1985–1995. For recent two years she has been practicing as an advocate. She specializes in criminal cases. Her main research interests are the penitentiary system, suicides, and human rights.

Angelika Rzeźniczak yra Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krokuvos akademijos doktorantė. Ji rengia daktaro disertaciją apie savižudybes įkalinimo įstaigose ir sulaikymo centruose. Teisinių studijų metu ji dalyvavo tyrinėjant savižudybes politinės pertvarkos metais (1985–1995 m.). Dvejus metus ji verčiasi advokato praktika, specializuojasi baudžiamosiose bylose. Autorės pagrindiniai tyrimų interesai yra pataisos įstaigų sistema, savižudybės ir žmogaus teisės.

1 Suicidology – interdisciplinary science about suicides, mechanisms that lead to self-destruction, about symptomatology and suicide prevention.

2 Concordat – an international agreement concluded between a state and the Roman Catholic Church, regulating the legal situation of the Church in a given state.

3 Article 53 (1). Everyone shall have freedom of conscience and religion. 2) Freedom of religion includes the freedom to profess or accept a religion of one’s own choice and to manifest one’s religion, individually or with others, in public or private, through worship, prayer, participation in rites, practice and teaching. Freedom of religion also includes the possession of temples and other places of worship according to the needs of believers and the right of persons to receive religious assistance where they are.

4 Article 17.1. The Republic of Poland shall ensure conditions for the performance of religious practices and the use of religious services to persons staying in penitentiary, educational, rehabilitation and health and social care institutions, as well as in other institutions and facilities of this kind.

2. The persons referred to in paragraph 1 shall in particular be given the opportunity to attend Mass on Sundays and public holidays and to participate in catechesis and retreats, as well as to use individual religious services in accordance with the purposes of their stay in the establishments indicated in paragraph 1.

3. For the exercise of the powers of the persons referred to in paragraph 1, the diocesan bishop will appoint chaplains with whom the relevant institution will conclude an appropriate agreement.

5 Art. 38 § 1.1. The execution of penalties, penal, compensatory, protective and preventive measures, in particular those related to imprisonment and forfeiture, may be carried out by associations, foundations, organizations and institutions whose purpose is to carry out the tasks specified in this chapter, as well as churches and other religious associations and persons of trust.

§ 1a. As regards crime prevention and social readaptation, the entities referred to in § 1 shall take actions to increase the effectiveness of the state bodies and strengthen the law enforcement of these bodies.

§ 2. The entities referred to in § 1 may, in agreement with the director of a penitentiary or detention centre, participate in carrying out social, social, cultural, educational, sports and religious rehabilitation activities in these facilities or detention centres.

6 § 1. You have the right to do religious practice and use religious services and to go directly to prison services on public holidays and listen to mass media services and to have the books, magazines and objects you need for this.

§ 2. The convicted person has the right to take part in religious teaching in the prison, to take part in the charity and social activities of the church or other religious association to which they belong, and to have individual meetings with the clergyman of the church or other religious association to which they belong; these clergymen may visit convicted persons in the rooms they are in.

§ 3. Exercising your religious freedom must not break the rules of tolerance or disrupt the order in prison.

§ 4. The Minister of Justice, after consulting the relevant clerical authorities of churches and other religious associations, shall determine, by ordinance, detailed rules for the exercise of religious practices and the use of religious services in penitentiaries and detention facilities, bearing in mind the need to ensure the conditions for individual and collective participation of persons detained in these facilities and detention facilities in services and meetings.

7 Article 2(2)(2)(b). 3) ensuring that persons sentenced to imprisonment or under temporary arrest, as well as persons who are subject to custodial sentences and coercive measures resulting in the deprivation of liberty, respect their rights, in particular their humane living conditions, dignity, health and religious care;

8 In accordance with the disposition of Article 212 a of the Polish Civil Code.

§ 1. the Penitentiary Commission qualifies a detainee as posing a serious social or security threat to the custody and reviews the decision at least once every 3 months. The authority at whose disposal the detained person remains in custody and the penitentiary judge shall be notified of the decisions taken. § The temporary arrested person referred to in § 1 shall be placed in a designated branch or cell of the pre-trial detention centre in conditions ensuring increased protection of the public and the security of the detention centre, notifying the penitentiary judge thereof. § When classifying a temporarily detained person as posing a serious social threat or a serious threat to the security of the custody, the provisions of Article 88a § 1 and 2 apply accordingly. § 4. (repealed) § 5. A temporarily detained person protected under the Crown Witness Act of 25 June 1997 may be detained, with his or her consent, in a branch or cell referred to in Article 88a § 3. Article 88a. § A convicted person who poses a serious social threat or a serious threat to the security of the prison may be considered a convicted person who committed an offence of a very high social detriment, in particular: 1) an offence: a) an assassination attempt: – the independence or integrity of the Republic of Poland, – the constitutional system of the state or constitutional organs of the Republic of Poland, – the life of the President of the Republic of Poland, – a unit of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, b) with particular cruelty, c) taking or keeping a hostage or in connection with taking a hostage, d) the hijacking of a ship or aircraft, e) with the use of firearms, explosives or flammable materials; 2) during his or her previous or current imprisonment, he or she posed a threat to the security of the penitentiary or detention centre in such a way that a) was the organiser or active participant in a collective presentation in a prison or detention facility, b) committed an active assault on a public official or other person employed in a prison or detention facility, c) was the perpetrator of rape, grievous bodily injury or abuse of a convicted, punished or provisionally detained person, d) released himself or attempted to release himself or herself from a closed-circuit type of prison or detention facility or during escort outside such prison or detention facility; 3) an offence in an organised group or association with a view to committing offences, in particular because of his leadership or significant role in the group or association. § 2. the penitentiary committee shall take into account when making and each time verifying the decision to consider a convicted person as posing a serious social threat or a serious threat to the security of the prison: 1) the personal characteristics and conditions of the convicted person; 2) the motives and behaviour of the offence and the nature and extent of the negative consequences of the offence; 3) the behaviour during your stay in prison; 4) the degree of demoralisation or progress in social rehabilitation; 5) in the case of a convicted person for an offence committed in an organised group or association aimed at committing offences, the threat to the legal order which may result from the establishment by the convicted person of unlawful contacts with other members of the group, including, in particular, a threat to human life or health or to activities aimed at disclosing property which is the benefit of the offence, and the fact that other members of the group or association are at large. § 3. a convicted person who poses a serious social threat or a serious threat to the security of the prison shall serve the sentence in a designated branch or cell of a closed-circuit prison under conditions that provide increased protection for the public and the security of the prison. § 4. A prison judge is notified of imprisonment in a designated branch or cell of a closed-circuit prison. § A convicted person referred to in Art. 88 § 3 item 5 may be imprisoned, with his or her consent, in a branch or cell referred to in § 3.