Understanding the Link between victimization and suicidality in justice-involved populations
Trauma exposure, including physical and sexual victimization in childhood, is associated with suicidal thoughts and behavior across the lifespan. This association is particularly important to consider among people who are contacted by law enforcement, corrections, and the broader criminal justice system. This presentation will present a brief review of what is known with regard to the relationship between victimization and suicidality, and then present findings from a series of studies that included incarcerated women, justice-involved youth, and adolescent psychiatric inpatients, many of whom were on probation. The findings from these studies suggest that victimization is related to current and lifelong risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, and also indicates that particular subgroups within justice-involved populations may benefit from targeted intervention and prevention efforts when encountering various aspects of the criminal justice system. Implications for different justice settings will be presented, including recommendations for addressing the intersection of trauma exposure, psychopathology, and justice-involvement.