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Disabilities Among Prison and Jail Inmates, 2011-12

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2015
1 page
Jennifer Bronson; Laura M. Maruschak; Marcus Berzofsky
Publication Series
This is a summary of a full report on disabilities among State and Federal prisoners based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Inmate Survey for 2011-12, with attention to the prevalence of inmate disabilities compared with the non- institutionalized U.S. population, disabilities by inmate characteristics, and other health conditions of disabled inmates.
An estimated 32 percent of State and Federal prisoners and 40 percent of local jail inmates reported having at least one disability in 2011-12. These estimates included at least one of the following disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, impaired self-care, and impaired independent living. A cognitive disability - defined as serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions - was the most common disability reported by prisoners (19 percent) and jail inmates (31 percent). The disability rate among prisoners was nearly three times that of the general population, and the rate among jail inmates was about four times that of the general population. Female prisoners were more likely than males to report a disability (40 percent compared to 31 percent). Among jail inmates, 49 percent of females reported a disability, compared to 39 percent of males. Non-Hispanic White prisoners (37 percent) and prisoners of two or more races (42 percent) were more likely than non-Hispanic Black prisoners (26 percent) to report having a disability; 28 percent of Hispanic prisoners reported a disability. Among jail inmates, White (40 percent) and persons of two or more races (55 percent) were more likely to report a disability than Blacks (5 percent). Just over half of prisoners and jail inmates with a disability reported a co-occurring chronic condition, compared to about a third of prisoners and jail inmates without a disability. 1 figure

Date Created: December 14, 2015