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Publication Medical Problems of Prisoners

Laura M. Maruschak

April 1, 2008    NCJ 221740

Medical problems of prisoners presents findings on state and federal prisoners who reported a current medical problem, a physical or mental impairment, a dental problem, or an injury since admission based on data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. The prevalence of specific medical problems and conditions is also included. The report examines medical problems and other conditions by gender, age, and select background characteristics. This document is web only.

Statistical Tables

To access an individual table, click on the table number below:

Table 1. Prison inmates who reported a medical problem by gender and age, 2004
Table 2. Medical problems reported by prison inmates by gender and age, 2004
Table 3. Number of medical problems reported by prison inmates by gender, 2004
Table 4. Impairments reported by prison inmates by gender and age, 2004
Table 5. Number of impairments reported by prison inmates by age, 2004
Table 6. Prison inmates who reported an injury since admission by gender and age, 2004
Table 7. Health-related conditions reported by prison inmates by background characteristics, 2004
Table 8. Medical services received by prison inmates, 2004
Table 9. Prison inmates who saw a health-care professional, 2004
Table 10. Medical services received by female prison inmates, 2004
Appendix table 1. Standard errors of state and federal inmates with medical problems, impairments, or injuries since admission by gender and age, 2004
Appendix table 2. Standard errors of state and federal inmates who reported specific current medical problems by gender, 2004
Appendix table 3. Standard errors of state and federal inmates with an impairment by gender, 2004

Highlights:

  • An estimated 44% of state inmates and 39% of federal inmates reported a current medical problem other than a cold or virus.
  • Arthritis (state 15%; federal 12%) and hypertension (state 14%; federal 13%) were the two most commonly reported medical problems.
  • Among inmates who reported a medical problem, 70% of state and 76% of federal inmates reported seeing a medical professional because of the problem.
  • More than 8 in 10 inmates in state and federal prisons reported receiving a medical exam or a blood test since admission.
  • Almost all state and federal inmates reported being tested for TB (95% and  96%, respectively).
  • More than a third (36%) of state inmates and nearly a quarter (24%) of federal inmates reported having an impairment.
  • Learning was the most commonly reported impairment among state and federal inmates (23% and 13%, respectively).
  • 16% of state inmates and 8% of federal inmates reported having multiple impairments.

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Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities (SISCF)

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