Saturday, October 9, 2010

Prison Mortality

Although access to this research (which appeared in the August 2010 issue of Demography) is restricted, the astounding results published in the article, "Incarcerating Death: Mortality in U.S. State Correctional Facilities, 1985-1998," are worthy of attention. In the article, Vanderbilt University sociologist Evelyn J. Patterson compares the mortality rate of men in state correctional facilities with the rate of men who are not in prison. She discovers that imprisoned black men have a lower mortality rate than black men who are not in prison. After controlling for firearm and motor vehicle deaths, the mortality rate for imprisoned black men is still lower. The reason, suggests Patterson, is that imprisoned black men have greater access to basic health care than their counterparts outside prison walls.

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