Fatal Lockup: An Examination of Prison and Parole Mortality in United States’ State Correctional System

Evelyn J. Patterson, University of Pennsylvania

This paper provides a detailed examination of mortality in incarcerated and paroled populations for three different years – 1986, 1991, and 1997. In addition, this paper examines several hypotheses: 1) Mortality rates among paroled persons who committed a violent offense are higher than mortality rates for those who were incarcerated for non-violent offenses; (2) States with higher levels of poverty have higher levels of mortality for both populations; (3) Mortality levels inside prisons are greater than the overall trends observed in the non-incarcerated and non-paroled population; however when the male population is divided into the major racial groups represented in prison, mortality levels for African American males in prison are less than or equal to that of African American men overall. My findings are proving to be quite significant. For example, my preliminary findings show that African American men in prison have lower mortality levels than those not in prisons.

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Presented in Poster Session 5