The issue of HIV/AIDS in correctional settings
has received much research attention. This section contains statistics from some of the larger
A. Incarcerated Populations at midyear 2007
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) obtains data on State and Federal inmates from the department of corrections in 50 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. BJS also obtains data on local jails through a complete census or annual survey. At mid-year 2007 BJS reported:1
- Approximately 2.3 million persons were incarcerated;
- 1,595,034 inmates were under the jurisdiction of State or Federal prisons;
- 780,581 inmates were held in jails;
- 35.4% of inmates in the custody of State or Federal prisons or in local jails were black and 17.9% were Hispanic;
- 92.8% of the prison and jail inmates were men; and
- Between mid-year 2006 and mid-year 2007, the number of women under the jurisdiction of State and Federal prison authorities rose 3.4% (to 115,308), while the number of men rose 2.3% (to 1,479,726).
B. HIV testing policies and HIV/AIDS in U.S.
Prisons at year-end 2006 BJS collects data on HIV testing policies
and HIV/AIDS cases among State and Federal inmates from records
submitted by each State Department of Corrections and by the Federal
Bureau of Prisons. Some correctional HIV testing policies are determined
by state or federal statutes. Reporting of HIV/AIDS cases from the 50
states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons is by infection type, meaning
that data are collected separately for those who are asymptomatic,
symptomatic, or have confirmed AIDS. These data are also provided
separately by gender. At year-end 2006:2
- Less than half of State prison systems (21) reported testing all inmates for HIV at admission, while in custody, or upon release.
- Forty-five States and the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported testing inmates if they had
- Forty-three states and the federal system tested inmates upon request.
- Forty states and the federal system tested inmates after they were involved in an incident in which an inmate was exposed to possible HIV transmission.
- Sixteen states and the federal system tested inmates who belonged to specific “high-risk” groups.
- 21,980 State and Federal prison inmates were known to be infected with HIV or to have confirmed AIDS (1.7% of the total custody population).
- Among State inmates, an estimated 2,138 (2.3%) females and 19,842 (1.6%) males were
HIV-infected or had confirmed AIDS.
- Between 2005 and 2006, the number of inmates who were infected with HIV or had confirmed AIDS decreased by 3.1% while the overall prison custody population grew 2.2% during the same period.
- In each year from 1999 to 2006, the prevalence of confirmed AIDS among the prison population was between 2.7 and 4.8 times higher than in the general U.S. population.
C. Survey of Prison Inmates
BJS conducted its most recent Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities in 2004.3 In this nationally-representative sample of the prison population, inmates were asked if they were ever tested for HIV, if they had been tested since their admission to prison, and the results of the test. In the 2004 survey:
- 69% of State inmates and 77% of Federal inmates reported being tested for HIV since admission and reported a result.
- Of those tested since admission, 1.9% of State inmates and 1.1% of Federal inmates reported being diagnosed with HIV infection.
- Among those tested for HIV, African-American (2.0%) and Hispanic (1.8%) State inmates reported higher rates of HIV infection than white (1.0%) inmates in 2004.
D. Survey of Jail Inmates
BJS conducted its most recent Sur
vey of Inmates in Local Jails in 2002.4 This survey collects data on HIV infection and testing in jails among a nationally-representative sample of jail inmates. Jail inmates were asked if they were ever tested for HIV, if they had been tested since their admission to jail, and the results of the test. In the 2002 survey:
- 18.5% of inmates reported being tested for HIV since admission and reported a result.
- Of those tested since admission to jail, 2.5% reported being diagnosed with HIV.
Based on these statistics,
it is apparent that the incarcerated population is an important population for HIV testing services.
Go to Section II