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Inmate Health - Injuries In Prison

inmates prisoners federal probationers

Data on injuries suffered by prisoners, whether in accidents or in fights, also date back to the 1997 survey of state and federal prisons. BJS has not published any new data since Medical Problems of Inmates, 1997, a report by Laura M. Maruschak and Allen J. Beck that was published in January 2001. The 1997 BJS data includes statistics on injuries and is based on prisoner reporting. In the report, Maruschak and Beck present statistics on prison inmates who reported injuries by time served in months. Both accidental injuries and injuries sustained in fights are reported.

Medical Problems of Inmates, 1997 indicates that 13.2% of state prisoners and 17% of federal prisoners, both with less than twelve months of time served, had suffered injuries. Of these, 2.9% of state and 0.8% of federal prisoners reported being injured in fights, while 10.2% of state and 15.6% of federal prisoners were injured in accidents in this group. Prisoners who had served twelve to twenty-three months had higher TABLE 6.13
Inmates and probationers identified as mentally ill, by gender, race, Hispanic origin, and age, 1998
SOURCE: Paula M. Ditton, "Table 4. Inmates and Probationers Identified as Mentally Ill, by Gender, Race/Hispanic Origin, and Age, 1998," in Mental Health and Treatment of Inmates and Probationers, Bureau of Justice Statistics, July 1999, April 1, 2005)

Percent identified as mentally ill
Offender characteristic State inmates Federal inmates Jail inmates Probationers
Male 15.8% 7.0% 15.6% 14.7%
Female 23.6 12.5 22.7 21.7
Race/Hispanic origin
White* 22.6% 11.8% 21.7% 19.6%
Black* 13.5 5.6 13.7 10.4
Hispanic 11.0 4.1 11.1 9.0
24 or younger 14.4% 6.6% 13.3% 13.8%
25–34 14.8 5.9 15.7 13.8
35–44 18.4 7.5 19.3 19.8
45–54 19.7 10.3 22.7 21.1
55 or older 15.6 8.9 20.4 16.0
*Excludes Hispanics.

incidence of injury: 19.8% of state prisoners and 22% of federal inmates reported an injury since admission. The longer prisoners serve, the higher the percentage of those injured. The survey format used by the BJS researchers produces what amounts to a cumulative measure of injury over time. (See Table 6.14.)

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