Dissertation Award: Perpetration of Interpersonal Violence, Incarceration, and Subsequent Risk for Firearm Suicide

Overview

This study will investigate the relationship between incarceration and subsequent firearm suicide over four decades in Washington State.

Grant Amount: $25,000

Organization: University of Washington

Doctoral Student: Erin R. Morgan, epidemiology, University of Washington

Estimated Completion Date: mid-2020

Project Summary

Purpose

Quantify the relationship between perpetration of crime, with a focus on violent crime, and subsequent firearm suicide over four decades in Washington State.

Approach

  • Link data from the Washington State Patrol, the Jail Booking and Reporting System, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and death certificates to create a dataset that includes all citations, jail bookings, and imprisonments in Washington State.
  • Compare incidence of firearm suicide death among formerly incarcerated individuals with that of a population matched for age, sex, and race within the state for the same period.
  • For suicides in King County, obtain detailed information on death investigations from the medical examiner’s office.
  • Identify themes in narratives collected using qualitative reviews.
  • Characterize circumstances preceding death through natural language processing.

Significance

This study will inform efforts to reduce firearm suicide in the formerly incarcerated population and those transitioning back into the community.

Doctoral Student

Erin R. Morgan, epidemiology, University of Washington. Morgan’s work focuses on suicide prevention through lethal means safety interventions and the intersection of inter-personal and self-directed violence. While pursuing her master’s degree in epidemiology at the University of Washington, Ms. Morgan worked with Public Health-Seattle & King County to update surveillance tools and communication materials for community firearm safety. Her firearm-related research papers have appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, JAMA Pediatrics, and Annals of Internal Medicine and Injury Prevention.