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New Study Looks At California Prison Guards' Suicide Rate

New study looks at California prison guards' suicide rate

(Article from abc10.com by Don Thompson, Associated Press, KXTV)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Correctional Officer Scott Jones kissed his wife goodbye on July 8, 2011, and headed off to a maximum-security prison in the remote high desert of northeastern California. He never came home.

Jones' body was found a day later, along with a note explaining why the 36-year-old took his own life: "The job made me do it."

Suicide is distressingly common among current and former California prison employees. The guards' union counts 96 confirmed or suspected suicides among current and retired members between 1999 and 2015.

The annual suicide rate among union members exceeded California's overall suicide rate of 10.3 per 100,000 people in 13 of those 17 years, according to an Associated Press analysis of union data. The number peaked at 13 in 2012, a rate more than four times that of the state's general population.

Now, a first-in-the-nation study coordinated among the union, California's corrections agency and University of California, Berkeley researchers is trying to figure out why and what to do about it.

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