Traumatic brain injury in a prison population: prevalence and risk for re-offending

Brain Inj. 2010;24(10):1184-8. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2010.495697.


Background: TBI can lead to cognitive, behavioural and emotional difficulties. Previous studies suggest that TBI is relatively elevated in offender populations. In this study the aims were to establish the rate of TBI of various severities in a representative sample of adult offenders and patterns of custody associated with TBI.

Methods: A self-report survey of adult, male offenders within a prison. Of 453 offenders, 196 (43%) responded.

Results: Over 60% reported 'Head Injuries'. Reports consistent with TBI of various severities were given by 65%. Of the overall sample, 16% had experienced moderate-to-severe TBI and 48% mild TBI. Adults with TBI were younger at entry into custodial systems and reported higher rates of repeat offending. They also reported greater time, in the past 5 years, spent in prison.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that there is a need to account for TBI in the assessment and management of offenders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Criminals / psychology
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prisons
  • Risk Assessment
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult