The total number of deaths in state prisons rose during 2011 by about four percent, to 3,353, according to report released today by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
The state prisoner mortality rate increased from 245 deaths per 100,000 in 2010 to 254 per 100,000 in 2011.
BJS' Deaths in Custody Reporting Program collects data on deaths that occur during arrest or while inmates are in the custody of local jails or state prisons. In 2011, 885 inmates died in the custody of local jails — the lowest number in the program's 12-year history.
About 35 percent of deaths in jail in 2011 were attributed to suicide. The report notes that while suicide rates have increased each year since 2009, the overall rate has declined by 11 percent since 2000.
The first week after admission to jail remains the deadliest, with 39 percent of deaths occurring during that period.
Read the full report HERE.