The Wyoming Brain Injury Association found that more than 80 percent of the state’s inmates have a mild to high likelihood of having suffered brain injury. The association worked with the Wyoming Department of Corrections to survey a sample population of 200 offenders in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins and Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk. The survey did not actually medically diagnose people with brain injuries but asked them a series of questions about their injuries, hospital stays and difficulties with daily life to determine the possibility of injury.
It validated some of what officials already suspected, said Sam Borbely, program manager for the Department of Corrections. He said officials knew prisoners have a higher incidence for such injuries than does the normal population. “We don’t want to say we were taken aback,” Borbely said. “But we didn’t anticipate it to be this high.” The 200 men and women represented about 26 percent of the state’s prison population, said Dorothy Cronin, executive director of the Brain Injury Association. She administered a 17-page survey to the prisoners that asked questions about falls, strokes and medications.