Death in prison: changing mortality patterns among male prisoners in Maryland, 1979-87

Am J Public Health. 1990 Dec;80(12):1479-80. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.12.1479.


The leading causes of death (rate per 100,000 prisoner-years) in Maryland state prisons for the period 1979-87 were circulatory system disease (59), suicide (40), and homicide and legal intervention (30). Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) became the leading cause of death in 1987. Homicides declined after 1980; drug overdose deaths peaked in 1981 and later disappeared. Male inmates have 39 percent lower all-cause death rates than the general population of Maryland after adjustment for age and race.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death*
  • Death Certificates
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Mortality*
  • Prisons*