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Mortality in Local Jails, 2000-2018 – Statistical Tables

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2021
36 pages

This report presents statistics on mortality in local jails.


This report presents detailed statistical tables on mortality in local jails. It provides information on cause of death; decedent characteristics, such as age, gender, and race or ethnicity; and mortality rates of inmate populations compared to the general U.S. adult population. The report is based on BJS's annual Mortality in Correctional Institutions data collection, which obtains information on persons who died while in the physical custody of local jails or state departments of corrections.

  • From 2017 to 2018, the number of deaths in local jails increased 1.9% (from 1,099 to 1,120 deaths).
  • On average, about half of all deaths in local jails from 2008 to 2018 were due to illnesses, such as heart disease, liver disease, and cancer.
  • The number of deaths in local jails due to drug or alcohol intoxication has more than quadrupled between 2000 (37) and 2018 (178).
  • Inmates in local jails were less likely to die in 2018 (146 deaths per 100,000 jail inmates) than were adults in the adjusted U.S. resident population (322 deaths per 100,000 adult U.S. residents).

Date Published: April 1, 2021