U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Medical Problems of State and Federal Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-2012

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2015
23 pages
Laura Maruschak; Marcus Berzofsky Dr.PH; Jennifer Unangst
Publication Series
This Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Special Report presents the prevalence of medical problems among state and federal prisoners and jail inmates, highlighting differences in rates of chronic conditions and infectious diseases by demographic characteristic.
This report describes health care services and treatment received by prisoners and jail inmates with health problems, including doctor's visits, use of prescription medication, and other types of treatment. It also explains reasons why inmates with health problems were not receiving care and describes inmate satisfaction with health services received while incarcerated. Data for this report were derived from the 2011-2012 National Inmate Survey. Highlights of this report include: 1) In 2011-12, an estimated 40% of state and federal prisoners and jail inmates reported having a current chronic medical condition while about half reported ever having a chronic medical condition. 2) Twenty-one percent of prisoners and 14% of jail inmates reported ever having tuberculosis, hepatitis B or C, or other STDs (excluding HIV or AIDS). 3) Both prisoners and jail inmates were more likely than the general population to report ever having a chronic condition or infectious disease. The same finding held true for each specific condition or infectious disease. 4) Among prisoners and jail inmates, females were more likely than males to report ever having a chronic condition. 5) High blood pressure was the most common chronic condition reported by prisoners (30%) and jail inmates (26%). 6) About 66% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates with a chronic condition at the time of interview reported taking prescription medication. And, 7) more than half of prisoners (56%) and jail inmates (51%) said that they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the health care services received since admission.

Date Created: February 5, 2015