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Publication Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails

Christopher J. Mumola

August 21, 2005    NCJ 210036

Describes historical trends in State prison and local jail inmate mortality rates based on inmate death records submitted by local jails (for 2000-2002) and State prisons (for 2001-2002). The report also compares current prison and jail mortality rates by demographic characteristics, offense types, and facility size and jurisdiction and compares the general population mortality rates with mortality rates in correctional facilities. Comparisons are made to both the raw mortality rates for the general population and those standardized to match the demographic makeup of the inmate populations.

This report presents the first findings from the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, which implements the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297). This new program involves the collection of individual records for every inmate death in the Nations local jails and State prisons. The program also includes the collection of death records from State juvenile correctional authorities (begun in 2002) and State and local law enforcement agencies (begun in 2003).

For updated data, see Key Facts at a Glance: Suicide and homicide rates in prison and jails.


  • In 2002 the suicide rate in local jails (47 per 100,000 inmates) was over 3 times the rate in State prisons (14 per 100,000 inmates).
  • Homicide rates were similar in local jails (3 per 100,000) and State prisons (4 per 100,000).
  • Violent offenders in both local jails (92 per 100,000) and State prisons (19 per 100,000) had suicide rates over twice as high as those of nonviolent offenders (31 and 9 per 100,000 respectively).

Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

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Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP)

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