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Publication Medical Problems of State and Federal Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011–12

Marcus Berzofsky, Dr. P.H., RTI International, Laura M. Maruschak, BJS Statistician, Jennifer Unangst, RTI International

February 5, 2015    NCJ 248491

Presents the prevalence of medical problems among state and federal prisoners and jail inmates, highlighting differences in rates of chronic conditions and infectious diseases by demographic characteristic. The report describes health care services and treatment received by prisoners and jail inmates with health problems, including doctor's visits, use of prescription medication, and other types of treatment. It also explains reasons why inmates with health problems were not receiving care and describes inmate satisfaction with health services received while incarcerated. Data were from the 2011–12 National Inmate Survey.

Highlights:

  • In 2011–12, an estimated 40% of state and federal prisoners and jail inmates reported having a current chronic medical condition while about half reported ever having a chronic medical condition.
  • Twenty-one percent of prisoners and 14% of jail inmates reported ever having tuberculosis, hepatitis B or C, or other STDs (excluding HIV or AIDS).
  • Both prisoners and jail inmates were more likely than the general population to report ever having a chronic condition or infectious disease. The same finding held true for each specific condition or infectious disease.
  • Among prisoners and jail inmates, females were more likely than males to report ever having a chronic condition.
  • High blood pressure was the most common chronic condition reported by prisoners (30%) and jail inmates (26%).
  • About 66% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates with a chronic condition at the time of interview reported taking prescription medication.
  • More than half of prisoners (56%) and jail inmates (51%) said that they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the health care services received since admission.

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