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Disabilities Among Prison and Jail Inmates, 2011-12

NCJ Number
249151
Date Published
December 2015
Author(s)
Jennifer Bronson, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics; Laura M. Maruschak, Bureau of Justice Statistics; Marcus Berzofsky, DrPH, RTI International
Publication Type
Publication
Annotation
Presents the prevalence of disabilities among prison and jail inmates, detailing the prevalence of six specific disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living.
Abstract

Presents the prevalence of disabilities among prison and jail inmates, detailing the prevalence of six specific disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living. Important differences in each type of disability are highlighted by demographic characteristics. The report also assesses the prevalence of disabilities with other health problems, such as a current chronic condition, obesity, ever having an infectious disease, and past 30-day serious psychological distress. Findings are based on prison and jail inmate self-reported data from BJS's 2011-12 National Inmate Survey (NIS-3). Data from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) and 2009-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were used to compare the incarcerated populations to the noninstitutionalized general population.

Highlights
  • An estimated 32% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates reported having at least one disability.
  • Prisoners were nearly 3 times more likely and jail inmates were more than 4 times more likely than the general population to report having at least one disability.
  • About 2 in 10 prisoners and 3 in 10 jail inmates reported having a cognitive disability, the most common reported disability in each population .
  • Female prisoners were more likely than male prisoners to report having a cognitive disability, but were equally likely to report having each of the other five disabilities.
  • Non-Hispanic white prisoners (37%) and prisoners of two or more races (42%) were more likely than non-Hispanic black prisoners (26%) to report having at least one disability.
  • More than half of prisoners (54%) and jail inmates (53%) with a disability reported a co-occurring chronic condition.
Date Created: December 11, 2015