In a special report "Population Density in Local Jails, 1988," the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) recently announced that between 1983 and 1988, 5.3 million square feet of new housing space and 29,000 guards were added to jails throughout the U.S. This is a 44% and 65% increase respectively.
According to the BJS, during the five-year period the inmate population grew by 54% - from 223,551 to 343,569 men and women. Consequently, housing space per inmate decreased by 6%, from 54.3 square feet to 50.9 square feet per prisoner.
There were 284 suicides among the 667 deaths in the nation's jails during the 12 months prior to June 30, 1988.
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