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Publication Jail Inmates in 2019

Zhen Zeng, Ph.D., Todd D. Minton, BJS Statisticians

March 10, 2021    NCJ 255608

This report is the 33rd in a series that began in 1982. It provides statistics based on BJS's Annual Survey of Jails and Census of Jails. It describes the number of inmates held in local jails, jail incarceration rates, demographic characteristics of jail inmates, the number of admissions to jail, jail capacity, inmate turnover rates, and staff employed in local jails.


  • At midyear 2019, local jails in the U.S. held 734,500 inmates, down from a peak of 785,500 inmates in 2008.
  • About 65% (480,700) of jail inmates were awaiting court action on a current charge, while the remaining 35% (253,700) were serving a sentence or awaiting sentencing on a conviction.
  • The jail incarceration rate decreased 13% from 2008 to 2019, declining from 258 to 224 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents.
  • Local jails reported 10.3 million admissions in 2019, which was 24% lower than the 13.6 million admissions in 2008.

Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

Press Release (32K)
Summary (PDF 197K)
Full report (PDF 601K)
Data tables (Zip format 23K)

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About the Source Data
Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ)
Census of Jails (COJ)

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