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Murder, death rates drop sharply in US prisons, DOJ report shows

[JURIST] Statistics from a new US Department of Justice report, Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails [PDF text; press release], reveal that prisoner death rates for homicide, suicide and AIDS have declined substantially in corrections facilities since 1980. Homicide rates in state prisons dropped by more than 90 percent, from 54 per 100,000 in 1980 to just four per 100,000 in 2002, the last year for which data was used. Suicide rates showed a 60 percent decline and death rates from AIDS dropped by more than 50 percent. Civil rights groups say the figures are a result of improvements in mental health care and medical treatment in prisons as well as better separation of violent and non-violent prisoners. AP has more.

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