Death Rate in Early U.S. State Prisons

face of a prisoner

From 1820 to 1843, 2.9% of prisoners died per year in U.S. state prisons operating under the Auburn (silent) system. Under the Pennsylvania (separate) system, the death rate was 3.1%. These deaths rates were roughly comparable with death rates in European prisons at this time.^

An amici curiae brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court case Overton v. Bazzetta (2003) stated:

The 1845 Report of the Correctional Association of New York reported that, over the preceding two decades, the Auburn system had produced a death rate of 56 percent and the Pennsylvania system had a death rate of 71 percent.^

That statement repeats incorrect reporting of the relevant statistics in a secondary historical source.^

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