Prison

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PRISON CUSTODY

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Each figure represents a person who died in custody. Roll over the figures to learn more about these deaths.

YEAR OF DEATH

The average number of deaths in prisons per year in 2005-2016 was 424. 2008 and 2012 saw the most deaths, at 471 and 466, respectively. 404 people were reported to have died in Texas prisons in 2016.

RACE/ETHNICITY

While white people made up on average 32% of the prison population in 2005-2016, they made up 42% of prison deaths in 2005-2016. White people who died were also older than people of other races or ethnicities who died: the median age of white decedents was 58, while the median age for black and Latino/a decedents was 53.

CAUSE OF DEATH

Ninety percent of prison deaths in 2005-2016 were reported to be of natural causes. For people ages 30 and under, the leading cause of death was suicide.

AGE

The median age of a person who died in prison custody between 2005 and 2016 was 54. While over 90% of reported deaths were caused by natural causes, this median age of death is far below the life expectancy of the average Texan, which was 72 for persons born in 1970.

CHARGE TYPE

If a person was convicted of crimes in multiple categories, the charges were prioritized in this order: violent crime; crime against a child; alcohol/drug offense; and property crime. For example, if a person was convicted of a violent crime as well as a property crime, that person was counted in the violent crime category. While about 46% of white and black people who died in prison were convicted of a violent crime, black people who died in prison were more likely to have been convicted of a property or alcohol/drug offense, while white people were more likely to have been convicted of a crime against a child. (2016 data are unavailable and show up as “N/A” in the below chart.)

HOW LONG WAS THE PERSON IN CUSTODY?

Almost 50% of people who died in prison in 2005-2016 had been in custody for less than 5 years.

TABLE OF CASES

Name Date of death Gender Age Race Cause of death Official Summary