Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Correctional Officer Life Expectancy


We receive this question frequently; however, it is not an easy statistic to locate. Here is the response we have provided to similar requests.

Reducing Staff and Inmate Stress

Cheek, Frances E. and Marie DiStefano Miller, 1982

Rhode Island Corrections Union President David Mellon Says Correctional Officers' Life Expectancy is 58 Years [Ruled False]

Emery, C. Eugene Jr., 2011

A lower life expectancy seems plausible, but age 58 seemed extraordinarily low when a 35-year-old male is predicted to live to age 77. We decided to track down the truth. It turned out to be as easy as handcuffing a ghost.

The Life Expectancy of Correctional Service of Canada Employees

Correctional Service Canada

This study demonstrates that there is no occupational risk associated with being a correctional officer in terms of reducing one's life expectancy.

Florida Mortality Study: Florida Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers Compared to Florida General Population

Florida State Lodge, 2011

On average, law enforcement and correctional officers died 12 years earlier than the general population. In other words, law enforcement and corrections officers lived 62.4 years compared to 74.2 years for the general population.

Document ID: 025403

Occupational Injuries Among U.S. Correctional Officers, 1999-2008

Konda, Srinivas, Audrey A. Reichard, and Hope M. Tiesman, 2012

This study describes fatal and nonfatal occupational injuries among U.S. correctional officers.

Correctional Officer Wellness and Safety Literature Review

Brower, Jaime, 2013

Moreover, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that, from 1999 to 2008, there were 113 occupational fatalities among civilian COs; a fatality rate of 2.7 per 100,000 full time employees. Of these deaths, 40 percent were intentional fatalities, meaning not accidents or suicides. 

Document ID:  028104

Improving Correctional Officer Wellness Through a Multifaceted Approach

Office of Justice Programs , Diagnostic Center, 2015

Seven staff fatalities including three suicides in just three years (2010-2012). For professionals who operate correction facilities, stress can be a significant issue with fatal consequences. The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) had 45 staff fatalities over the past 30 years. Twenty-four percent of these deaths were suicide. MSO believes the other deaths are tied to stress and wellness related health issues such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Document ID: 030026

Prevalence of Trauma-related Health Conditions in Correctional Officers: A Profile of Michigan Corrections Organization Members

Denhof, Michael D., and Caterina G. Spinaris, 2016

A formal research inquiry was performed into the prevalence of various health status conditions among Michigan Corrections Organization members, primarily white male Corrections Officers, working in prison environments. The relationship between magnitude of exposure to work-related events involving violence, injury and death (VID), and several health conditions was examined.

NIC Suicide in Corrections Project Page

The resources provided will help give an overview of the problems surrounding correctional suicides and the ways one can implement strategies to turn around the alarming upward trajectory of suicide rates.