Consequences of Long-Term Prison Sentences on Inmate Fatalities in State and Federal Prisons, 1993-1998

Heather M. Heitfield, The American University

Prison violence has become a rising concern as the growth of prison populations continues to increase at an alarming rate. In the face of harsh state sentencing policies mandating long prison terms for many non-violent crimes, correctional institutions are confronting the ramifications of inmate overcrowding. Furthermore, inmates and their families are facing the realities of prison violence. This paper proposes to examine inmate deaths caused by other inmates in each of the fifty states and the federal system over a period of six years. Specifically, it seeks to understand how increases in the proportion of state inmate populations with sentences over one year affect the number of assault-related deaths each year.

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Updated 05/20/2006