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Mortality in State and Federal Prisons, 2001-2016 - Statistical Tables

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2020
25 pages
E. Ann Carson; Mary P. Cowling
Based on data obtained from the Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) data collection (formerly the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program), this report presents statistics on the number of inmate deaths in state and federal publicly and privately operated prisons for the years 2001-2016. along with the major causes of the deaths and demographic characteristics of the decedents.
In 2016, a total of 4,117 state and federal prisoners died in publicly or privately operated prisons. From 2015 to 2016, deaths in state prisons increased from 296 to 303 deaths per 100,000 state prisoners. From 2015 to 2016, deaths in federal prisons decreased for the first time since 2012, from 283 to 252 deaths per 100,000 federal prisoners. Illness-related deaths composed 86 percent of deaths in state prisons in 2016, with just over half of the deaths being due to cancer (30 percent of all deaths) or heart disease (28 percent). Homicide deaths which included deaths due to injuries sustained before imprisonment, accounted for 2.5 percent of deaths in state prisons and 3.6 percent of deaths in federal prisons in 2016. A total of 255 state prisoners committed suicide in 2016, marking a 16-year peak in the number of suicides. From 2015 to 2016, suicides increased from 5.9 percent to 6.8 percent of all deaths in state prisons, down from 7.1 percent in 2014. Just over half of all deaths in state prisons in 2016 involved White prisoners, who composed less than one-third (31 percent) of the state prison population. From 2001 to 2016, mortality rates declined for all age groups of state prisoners age 25 or older; however, the portion of prisoners age 55 or older tripled, having the highest mortality rates. 14 tables and 1 figure

Date Created: February 12, 2020