Morocco: investigating suicide and self-harm

Research findings and prevention work in collaboration with the prison administration

Suicide and self-harm are major concerns in prisons around the world, with rates often significantly higher among prisoners than in the general population. In 2017, the Moroccan prison administration initiated a collaboration with DIGNITY, the Danish Institute Against Torture, to prevent suicide and self-harm among prisoners. A study aimed at gaining a better understanding of these phenomena was carried out, one of the first to be published on the subject in Moroccan prisons.

Maha Aon is a senior public health advisor at Dignity and a PhD candidate focusing on the health of incarcerated persons, especially on the risk factors linked to self-harm in prison. She is the lead researcher of this study. Prison Insider asked her three questions.

The research came out of necessity: we needed to know what the situation was, in order to provide an appropriate response.

Some of these findings surprised the prison administration, others did not.

Morocco is the first country in the MENA, if not the only one, to have developed a framework of principles on suicide and self-harm in prisons.