This report presents prevalence estimates of disabilities among prison and jail inmates and characteristics of those inmates with a disability. Estimates of the prevalance of disabilities include inmates who reported at least one of six specific disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living.
„„ An estimated 32% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates reported having at least one disability.
„„ Prisoners were nearly 3 times more likely and jail inmates were more than 4 times more likely than the general population to report having at least one disability.
„„ About 2 in 10 prisoners and 3 in 10 jail inmates reported having a cognitive disability, the most common reported disability in each population.
„„ Female prisoners were more likely than males to report having a cognitive disability, but were equally likely to report having each of the other five disabilities.
„„ Non-Hispanic white prisoners (37%) and prisoners of two or more races (42%) were more likely than non-Hispanic black prisoners (26%) to report having at least one disability.
„„ More than half of prisoners (54%) and jail inmates (53%) with a disability reported a co-occurring chronic condition.
„„ Compared to those without a disability, prisoners with a disability were about 4 times more likely and jail inmates with a disability were nearly 2.5 times more likely to report past 30-day serious psychological distress.
„„ Thirty-three percent of prisoners and 47% of jail inmates with a cognitive disability reported past 30-day serious psychological distress, compared to 11% of prisoners and 24% of jail inmates with a disability other than cognitive.
Disabilities among prison and jail inmates, 2011-2012
To contact an RTI author, request a report, or for additional information about publications by our experts, send us your request.