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AIDS-Related Death Rates in Jails, State Prisons Have Dropped Significantly, Federal Data Say

August 22, 2005

The AIDS-related death rates of inmates in jails and state prisons have significantly decreased, according to data discussed on Sunday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the AP/Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. According to officials, the mortality rate from AIDS-related illnesses in jails decreased from 20 per 100,000 inmates in 1988 to eight per 100,000 in 2002. In state prisons, AIDS-related death rates dropped from 100 per 100,000 inmates in 1995 to 15 per 100,000 in 2000. Death rates for suicide and homicide also decreased among inmates. Officials attribute the declines to improved medical treatment and a more concerted effort to separate violent criminals from other offenders. Another reason for the declines is that advocacy groups have become more aggressive in filing lawsuits to improve conditions in jails and state prisons, according to Kara Gotsch, public policy coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project (Yost, AP/Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/22).

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