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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2014 Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-9320


Female jail inmate population continued to increase

WASHINGTON – After a peak in the number of inmates confined in county and city jails at midyear 2008 (785,533), the jail population was significantly lower by midyear 2013 (731,208). However, the estimated decline between midyear 2012 and 2013 was not statistically significant. California’s jails experienced an increase of about 12,000 inmates since midyear 2011.  

The jail incarceration rate—the confined population per 100,000 U.S. residents—declined between midyear 2012 (237 per 100,000) and 2013 (231 per 100,000). This decline continues a downward trend from a high of 259 jail inmates per 100,000 residents in 2007.

Local jails admitted an estimated 11.7 million persons during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2013, remaining stable since 2011 (11.8 million) and down from a peak of 13.6 million admissions in 2008. The number of persons admitted to local jails in 2013 was 16 times the estimated 731,352 average daily number of jail inmates or average daily population during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2013.

More than a third of admissions during the last week of June 2013 were to the largest jail jurisdictions, or those jails with an average daily population of 1,000 or more inmates. In comparison, jail jurisdictions holding fewer than 50 inmates accounted for about 7 percent of all jail admissions. For the smallest jails, the number of admissions between 2012 and 2013 was 34 times the size of the average daily population during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2013. The largest jails held 48 percent of the jail population at midyear 2013, but accounted for 6 percent of all jail jurisdictions nationwide.

Males represented at least 86 percent of the jail population since 2000. The female inmate population increased 10.9 percent (up 10,000 inmates) between midyear 2010 and 2013, while the male population declined 4.2 percent (down 27,500 inmates). The female jail population grew by an average of about 1 percent each year between 2005 and 2013. In comparison, the male jail population declined an annual average of less than 1 percent every year since 2005.

White inmates accounted for 47 percent of the total jail population, blacks represented 36 percent and Hispanics represented 15 percent at midyear 2013. An estimated 4,600 juveniles were held in local jails (less than 1 percent of the confined population), down from 5,400 during the same period in 2012.

At midyear 2013, about 6 in 10 inmates were not convicted, but were in jail awaiting court action on a current charge—a rate unchanged since 2005. About 4 in 10 inmates were sentenced offenders or convicted offenders awaiting sentencing. From the first significant decline in the overall jail population since midyear 2009, the unconvicted population (down 24,000 inmates) outpaced the decline in the convicted inmate population (down 12,000 inmates).

Jails operated at 82 percent of capacity at midyear 2013, the lowest percentage since 1984 (86 percent). Rated capacity in jails reached 891,271 beds at midyear 2013, an increase of 1.6 percent (up 13,875 beds) from 877,396 beds at midyear 2012; however, the change was not statistically significant. The increase between midyear 2012 and 2013 was smaller than the average annual increase each year between 2000 and 2012 (up 2.2 percent, or 19,003 beds).

The report, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2013 - Statistical Tables (NCJ 245350), was written by BJS statisticians Todd D. Minton and Daniela Golinelli, Ph.D. The report, related documents and additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at



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