Slaughter, Fann, and Ehde [64]

investigated the presence of TBI (as

defined by whether they had ever

had an ‘injury to the head which

knocked [them] out or at least left

[them] dazed, confused or

disoriented’) in inmates in a county

jail in the USA (91% male and 9%

female). They found 87% had

suffered a brain injury during their

lifetime, with 36% experiencing

injury in the previous year. Those

with a TBI in the previous year had

worse anger and greater psychiatric

disturbance than those who had not.

A recent US based study of the

lifetime prevalence of traumatic brain

injury showed that TBI is highly

prevalent in both male and female

prisoners. The state-wide study

grouped prisoners into categories

that reflected whether they would be

scheduled for release imminently or

not. It was found that 65% of male

prisoners (releases and non-releases),

and 72% and 73% of female

‘releases’ and ‘non-releases’ reported

at least one TBI that had resulted in

an ‘alteration of consciousness’ [68].

Forty-two per cent of male releases

and 50% of non-releases, and 50%

of female releases and 33% of nonreleases,

reported at least one TBI

with a loss of consciousness.

When asked whether they

experienced on-going symptoms of

TBI 35% of male releases and 42%

of non-releases, and 55% of female

releases and 58% of non-releases,

reported that they did. These

symptoms included headaches,

problems with memory and/or

concentration. Moreover, they found

a dose response relationship where

longer loss of consciousness was

associated with more symptoms.

These findings suggest that the

prevalence of TBI may be even higher

in female prisoners than in males,

and that TBI may lead to on-going

symptoms in both groups.

Part Two:

Brain Injury and criminal justice


While less than

10% of the


population has

experienced a

head injury,

studies from

across the world

have typically

shown that this

is between 50-80%

in offender


Repairing Shattered Lives © Barrow Cadbury Trust

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