"• In both state and federal prisons, female prisoners were more likely than male prisoners to report a cognitive, ambulatory, or independent-living disability (tables 2 and 3).

"• Forty-four percent of white state prisoners reported a disability, compared to 37% of Hispanic and 33% of black state prisoners.

"• Black and Hispanic state prisoners were less likely than white state prisoners to report a hearing, cognitive, ambulatory, or independent-living disability.

"• Black federal prisoners were less likely than white federal prisoners to report a hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, or independent-living disability, and equally likely to report a self-care disability.

"• More than half of state (57%) and federal (51%) prisoners ages 55 to 64 reported having a disability, and 7 in 10 state (70%) and federal (68%) prisoners age 65 or older reported a disability.

"• State and federal prisoners (38%) were about two and a half times more likely to report a disability than adults in the U.S. general population (15%) (table 4).

"• Twenty-five percent of state prisoners and 14% of federal prisoners reported having ever attended special education classes (table 5).

"• State prisoners (15%) were nearly twice as likely as federal prisoners (8%) to report that a doctor, psychologist, or teacher had ever told them that they had a learning disability, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia."


Laura M. Maruschak, Jennifer Bronson, PhD, and Mariel Alper, PhD. Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016: Disabilities Reported By Prisoners. US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. NCJ 252642. March 2021.