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Prison and Jail Deaths in Custody, 2000-2009 - Statistical Tables

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2011
34 pages
This report examines inmate mortality data in State prisons and local jails by the number and causes of deaths.

Provides data on the number and causes of deaths that occurred in state prison or local jail custody. Data tables show national and state-level counts of persons who have died in prisons or jails from 2000 through 2009, including deaths attributed to homicide, suicide, illness, intoxication, and accidental injury. Tables include data on the number of deaths by year, cause of death, and decedent age, race, and sex. Tables also include mortality rates per 100,000 prison or jail inmates. Mortality data are from the BJS Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP), which began in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297).

  • State prison facilities reported 3,452 inmate deaths in 2008 (a rate of 260 deaths per 100,000 prison inmates) and 3,408 inmate deaths in 2009 (257 deaths per 100,000 prison inmates).
  • Heart disease (26%) and cancer (27%) were the leading single causes of illness-related deaths in prisons, together accounting for nearly half (52%) of all prison deaths in 2009.
  • In 2008, 960 inmates died in U.S. jails (a mortality rate of 123 deaths per 100,000 jail inmates) and in 2009, 948 inmates died in U.S. jails (a rate of 127 deaths per 100,000 jail inmates).
  • In 2009, 32% of deaths in jails were suicides and 21% were due to heart disease.

Date Published: December 1, 2011