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Publication Mortality in Local Jails, 2000-2007 (Revised)

Margaret E. Noonan

July 7, 2010    NCJ 222988

This report has been revised.  Please note the highlighted revisions in the Mortality in Local Jails PDF file. An errata sheet explaining the purpose of these revisions is also available for review.

Describes the specific medical conditions causing deaths in jails nationwide during an eight-year period. For the leading medical causes of mortality, comparative estimates and mortality rates are presented by gender, age, race and Hispanic origin, and the length of time served in jail. The report includes detailed statistics on causes of death as well as more acute events such as suicides, homicides and accidents. Mortality as related to the size of the jail will also be discussed. Jail inmate death rates are compared with rates in the general U.S. resident population using a direct standardization. Estimates and mortality rates for the top 50 jail jurisdictions in the United States are also presented.


  • From 2000 through 2007, local jail administrators reported 8,097 inmate deaths in custody. Deaths in jails increased each year, from 904 in 2000 to 1,102 in 2007.
  • The mortality rate per 100,000 local jail inmates declined from 151 deaths per 100,000 inmates to 141 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2007, while the jail inmate population increased 31% from 597,226 to 782,595.
  • Between 2000 and 2007, the suicide rates were higher in small jails than large jails. In jails holding 50 or fewer inmates, the suicide rate was 167 per 100,000; in the largest jails, the suicide rate was 27 per 100,000 inmates.

Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

Errata (PDF 2K)
Press Release
PDF (353K)
ASCII file (34K)
Spreadsheets (Zip format 43K)

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