Inmate Characteristics

It’s always hard to think about people who are incarcerated and where they come from. No one wants to imagine himself or herself in that situation, but at the same time, people frequently dismiss those who go to jail by saying, “Oh, it’s no surprise he got arrested,” or, “Oh, she had it coming for her.” By saying things like this, we are not actually addressing the potential causes and reasons people of certain demographics more often end up imprisoned rather than someone else.


In Massachusetts, 51% of male inmates and 40% of female inmates have a less than 9th grade reading level. 45% of male inmates and 38% of female inmates have a less than 6th grade math level.

As of 2012, 22% of male inmates and 63% of female inmates were cases that were classified as open mental health cases with a good portion of them on psychotropic medication.

The three-year recidivism rate was 44% for males and 40% for females.

The average age of males is 39 and of females is 36 years old.

As of January 1, 2012 there were 10,925 men in Massachusetts jurisdiction compared to only 798 women.


If we address some of the underlying problems, such as access to education and health services, we may be able to deter some crime or at the very least, make sure people are getting the help they need.


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