This study, conducted by Binswanger et al., found that mortality rates among former inmates were significantly higher than mortality rates of other state residents of the same age, sex, and race and that mortality rates were especially high in the first two weeks post-release.
This is a a retrospective cohort study of all inmates released from the Washington State Department of Corrections from July 1999 through December 2003. Binswanger et al. compared mortality rates among former inmates with state residents similar in age, sex, and race and found that the risk of death among former inmates was 3.5 times higher than the comparison group. Moreover, the authors found that the risk of death was 12.7 times higher for people formerly in prison during the first two weeks of their release. The leading causes of death were were "drug overdose, cardiovascular disease, homicide, and suicide." The authors conclude that these findings demonstrate the importance of reentry planning for for individuals leaving prison, including efforts to increase continuity of care for individuals who have health and mental health concerns.