Sentenced & Incarcerated
Deaths reported from 2005 - 2014
This data shows deaths that occurred in jails, prisons, and hospitals after a subject has been sentenced by a court. The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) manages the state prison system, which houses the majority of individuals sentenced to a term of incarceration; due to Public Safety Realignment, part of this responsibility has shifted to county jails since 2011. The majority of total deaths in custody (64%) occurred among sentenced and incarcerated individuals.
What was the manner of death?
For deaths among sentenced inmates, the vast majority (81%) were due to natural causes, 9% were suicides, while 5% were accident-related.
How have these numbers changed over time?
Annual deaths in this category hovered around 400 per year. There were no discernable trends in this category over the period analyzed.
Deaths Per Agency Over Time
What agency types accounted for the deaths reported?
Nearly all of the deaths (91%) among sentenced and incarcerated inmates occurred within the state's prison system, with county sheriff's departments accounting for a relatively small share.
What type of offense did the individual commit or was arrested for?
More than half of deaths occurred among persons who were convicted of a violent felony. Slightly over 15% were convicted of felony drug offenses or misdemeanors.
How old were those who died?
The average age of sentenced and incarcerated individuals who died due to natural causes was 56 years old. Among those who committed suicide, the average was 39 years of age. The average among those who died due to accidental causes and homicide by another inmate was 41 years old and 44 years old respectively.
What was the race/ethnicity of those who died?
For all deaths that occurred in state prisons, Whites accounted for the largest shares with relatively equal shares accounted for by Blacks and Hispanics.
How does the race/ethnicity of those who died compare to other statewide statistics?
Among sentenced and incarcerated individuals, Blacks died at a rate that was 4.58 times greater than expected given their representation in the state population. Relative to their representation in California's state prison population, Blacks were not overrepresented among those who died. Whites were somewhat overrepresented among those who died given their representation in the state prison population.