Prevalence of traumatic brain injury among prisoners in South Carolina

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2012 May-Jun;27(3):E11-20. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e31824e5f47.


Objective: To determine lifetime prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a statewide sample of prisoners.

Design: Retrospective and cross-sectional cohort study.

Participants: Stratified random sample of prisoners scheduled to be released by release type for each gender (275 men and 267 women with completed sentences and 19 men and 15 women granted parole) and a random sample of prisoners by gender with lifetime or death sentences (26 men and 34 women). PRIMARY MEASURE: Weighted prevalence of TBI. In-person interviews ascertained history of TBI using a customized version of the Ohio State University TBI Identification Method.

Results: Sixty-five percent of male releases and nonreleases, and 72% and 73% of female releases and nonreleases, reported at least 1 TBI with an alteration of consciousness. Forty-two percent of male releases and 50% of nonreleases, and 50% of female releases and 33% of nonreleases, reported at least 1 TBI with loss of consciousness. Thirty-five percent of male releases and 42% of nonreleases, and 55% of female releases and 58% of nonreleases, reported ongoing symptoms from TBI.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of prisoners reported having experienced a TBI during their lifetime. The ongoing TBI symptoms reported by prisoners may impact their success on release.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • South Carolina / epidemiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult