This paper shows that preventing ‘suicide risks’ in French prison regulations is thwarted in two prisons by professional criteria regarding credibility and solidarity, as well as by the balance of power between prisoners and guards, in addition to the realization, on the part of the judges responsible for sentencing, of the risks posed by recidivists. The results of this study should provoke a re-evaluation of suicide prevention programmes when considered in the light of the numerous mediations and transcriptions between these programmes and their subsequent concretization in the culture and practices of prison employees.

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