Deaths in jail may be on the rise, according to a new report released today by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
During 2012, 958 inmates died in jail, according to the report, up 8 percent from the 889 deaths in 2011. The report also examined deaths in state prisons, which remained nearly unchanged between 2011 (3,353 deaths) and 2012 (3,351).
However, the population of inmates at state prisons decreased in 2012, which means the mortality rate actually increased about 2 percent.
Jails are run by local law enforcement, and typically hold inmates who have not yet been sentenced or have received relatively short sentences. Prisons are run by state corrections departments and inmates typically have longer sentences.
The majority of deaths in jail (55 percent) and prison (88 percent) in 2012 were related to illnesses, such as heart disease, AIDS, cancer, liver disease and respiratory disease, according to the report.
But the leading cause of death in jail was suicide (31 percent). The report notes a slight decrease from 43 suicides per 100,000 jail inmates in 2011 to 41 suicides per 100,000 inmates in 2012.
Read the full report HERE.