22 August 2005

Incarceration Less Deadly.

It is easy to get stuck in the funk of thinking that nothing can ever change or get better. That is cynicism, not realism. Recent statistics on deaths in jails and prisons are a case in point. State prison homicides are down 90% from 1980 to 2002. Jail suicides are down 60% from 1983 to 2002.

Death rates from AIDS- related causes in jails also fell sharply, from 20 per 100,000 in 1988 to eight per 100,000 in 2002. In state prisons, AIDS-related death rates fell from 100 per 100,000 inmates in 1995 to 15 per 100,000 in 2000.

Improved medical care, better prisoner segregation and lawsuits to make it all happen (such as those brought by the ACLU), are major factors in bringing about the change.

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