In the United States, jails have a total mortality rate of 128, whereas prisons have a rate of 264 per 100,000 people. These numbers may include individuals who are euthanized.
The number of deaths in U.S. jails has declined since 2005, when there were 462 homicides reported. Since then, there have been fewer than 400 homicides each year. The number of prisoners who die in federal facilities is not released by the Bureau of Prisons.
The rate of inmate death in U.S. prisons increased from 200 per 100,000 in 1975 to 450 per 100,000 in 2003. Thereafter, it began to decline, and by 2014 it had dropped to 390 per 100,000.
Of particular concern is the higher rate of homicide among inmates compared with the general population. In 2012, the most recent data available, the rate of homicde among the general population was only 3 per 100,000. But among prisoners, the rate was 58 per 100,000.
There are several possible reasons why the rate of inmate homicide is so high. Many of these cases may go unreported. Also, inmates may be more likely to come into contact with violence due to their involvement in illicit activities such as drug trafficking or gang membership.
The mortality rate for state prisoners in the United States was 344 fatalities per 100,000 inmates in 2018. This is an increase from the previous year, when the mortality rate was 323 per 100,000 inmates. The number is higher than that of the general population: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 478 deaths per 100,000 people in the United States in 2018.
The death rate in prisons is high because prisoners are more likely to die of illnesses that can be prevented or treated if they receive proper medical care. For example, studies have shown that prisoners who use marijuana regularly are at increased risk of developing cancer later in life. Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in prison populations.
There are several factors that may contribute to a higher mortality rate among prisoners than those who are not incarcerated. Prison systems are designed with a focus on security and control, which can lead to reduced access to health care and nutrition programs. Incarceration also removes individuals from their social networks and communities, which can have negative effects on health.
Prison systems tend to rely on states to provide adequate medical care for their inmates, so it is no surprise that many countries with large populations of imprisoned individuals do not have sufficient medical resources available for them.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 17,358 people died in detention between 2007 and 2010. Other sources are more concerned with the rate per 100,000 persons.
The BJS estimates show that there were approximately 400 deaths in custody each year during this period. This works out to about 8 deaths per 100,000 individuals. Of these, about 70 percent were men and 30 percent women. The average age was 39 years.
Of particular concern is the high rate of death for African-Americans. Although they make up only 12 percent of the population, they account for nearly half of all those who died in custody during this time period.
Prison suicides also represent a serious problem - both for the inmates who take their own lives and for their families. Some studies have estimated that there are more than 200 suicides per year within U.S. prison systems.
Research has shown that poor supervision, lack of treatment for mental illness, and exposure to violence behind bars can all contribute to higher rates of suicide within correctional facilities.
Although the BJS data show no significant change in rates of death over time, others have noted a rise in homicide while in police custody.
Estimates According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 17,358 people died in detention between 2007 and 2010.
The difference is due to the fact that jails tend to be smaller and less secure than prisons. Prison guards are usually present at all times, while jail guards may sleep during shifts. There have been several high-profile deaths in U.S. jails over the past few years. These include cases in which prisoners were beaten to death by other inmates, including two men who were sexually assaulted before they were beaten to death. The rate of death in U.S. prisons is also higher because they have a larger proportion of older inmates, many of whom have health problems that would not cause death if themselves or their victims outside of prison. For example, one study found that elderly prisoners were 3.5 times more likely than younger prisoners to die in custody.
All things considered, the risk of dying in prison is relatively low. However, it's important to remember that each case is unique, so the chance of dying in prison should not be judged as a general statistic.
State prisons recorded 4,135 fatalities in 2018 (not including the 25 persons killed in state prisons), the highest amount since BJS began collecting mortality statistics in 2001. Between 2016 and 2018, the jail death rate increased from 303 to a new high of 344 per 100,000 people, a disgraceful record.
The number of deaths in U.S. jails has reached epidemic proportions. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with 743 per 100,000 people. This does not include those held in immigration detention or who are homeless.
In 2018, there were also 3,175 deaths reported by state hospitals, an increase of four percent over 2017. The national hospital death rate was 15.7 per 100,000 people, which was unchanged from 2017. That's more than double the rate for the general population.
Deaths in local jails and state hospitals account for about 70% of all jail deaths. Of these, nearly half (47%) occurred in local jails. The other 30% occurred in state hospitals.
The main causes of death in jails and state hospitals are listed in the table below. For jails, this includes deaths of inmates being transported by police officers or others on behalf of the jail; for state hospitals, it includes patients dying while under the care of doctors or nurses.
Almost one fifth of all jail deaths involved some kind of drug overdose.