Violent Lives Make Inmates Prone to Brain Trauma

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Photo: Denver jail inmates
Inmates in the custody of a Denver deputy.

Colorado researchers are spending a lot of time in jails lately. They're trying to figure out how a brain injury can lead someone to commit a crime. They also hope to help inmates cope with the effects of brain trauma.

Three years ago Kim Gorgens, an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Denver, joined forces with the Denver sheriff's office and the Colorado Brain Injury Program on a pilot program that assessed dozens of inmates in the Denver county jail for brain trauma.

They found nearly 100 percent of inmates had faced some type of brain injury compared to only about 6 percent of the general population.

The findings have led jail staffers to focus more on brain injuries and to offer inmates a brain-injury class. The effort has also expanded to other correctional facilities.

DU's Kim Gorgens speaks with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.