BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: Annual Survey of Jails
Status: Active
Frequency: Annually starting 1982; excluding years 1983, 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2005
Latest data available: 2015

Collects data from a nationally representative sample of local jails on jail inmate populations, jail capacity, and related information. The collection began in 1982 and has been conducted annually, except for years 1983, 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2005, during which a complete census of U.S. local jails was conducted.

On This Page

Data Experts

  • Todd D. Minton, BJS Statistician
  • Zhen Zeng, Ph.D., BJS Statistician
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    Collection Period

    2015

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    Questionnaires

    Annual Summary on Inmates Under Jail Jurisdiction: Multi-jurisdiction or Private Facility (CJ-10A/5)
    2016 PDF (426K) | 2015 PDF (444K)
    Annual Summary on Inmates Under Jail Jurisdiction: Non multi-jurisdiction or Private Facility (CJ-9A/5)
    2016 PDF (416K) | 2015 PDF (439K)
    Annual Survey of Jails: Certainty Multi-jurisdiction or Private Facility (CJ-5da)
    2014 PDF (103K) | 2013 PDF (215K) | 2012 PDF (100K) | 2011 PDF (88K) | 2010 PDF (92K)
    Annual Survey of Jails: Certainty jurisdictions (CJ-5d)
    2014 PDF (110K) | 2013 PDF (232K) | 2012 PDF (101K) | 2011 PDF (94K) | 2010 PDF (94K)
    Annual Survey of Jails: Non-certainty Private Facility (CJ-5a)
    2014 PDF (97K) | 2013 PDF (215K) | 2012 PDF (95K) | 2011 PDF (85K) | 2010 PDF (95K)
    Annual Survey of Jails: Non-certainty jurisdictions (CJ-5)
    2014 PDF (92K) | 2013 PDF (179K) | 2012 PDF (96K) | 2011 PDF (87K) | 2010 PDF (52K)
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    Documentation

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    Methodology

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) periodically conducts census data collections from all local jails in the United States. In years between census collections, BJS conducts the Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ). The survey collects data annually from a sample of local jails and uses the data to estimate the number and characteristics of inmates in local jails nationwide.

    BJS drew a sample of local jail jurisdictions for the 2015 ASJ based on information from the 2013 Census of Jails. Local jail jurisdictions include counties (parishes in Louisiana) or municipal governments that administered one or more local jails. All jail jurisdictions were grouped into 10 strata based on their average daily population and presence of juveniles in 2013. In 8 of the 10 strata, a random sample of jail jurisdictions was selected. The remaining two strata were certainty strata, where all jurisdictions were selected with probability 1. One stratum consisted of all jails that were operated jointly by two or more jurisdictions (referred to as multijurisdictional jails). The other stratum consisted of all jail jurisdictions that—

    • held juvenile inmates at the time of the 2013 Census of Jails and had an average daily population of 500 or more inmates during the 12 months ending December 31, 2013
    • held only adult inmates and had an average daily population of 750 or more
    • were located in California.

    The ASJ sample includes all California jail jurisdictions. This sampling feature was introduced in 2013 in response to the enactment of California AB 109 and AB 117, aimed to reduce the number of inmates housed in state prisons starting on October 1, 2011. After the enactment of these two laws, the jail population in California experienced an unusual increase, which was atypical of the rest of the United States. For this reason, the ASJ sampling design was modified to include all California jail jurisdictions in a certainty (self-representing) stratum (see Methodology in Jail Inmates at Midyear 2014. The inclusion of all California jail jurisdictions resulted in an additional 21 jurisdictions.

    See Methodology in each report for details specific to the collection in the Jail Inmates at Midyear series.

    *For methodologies prior to the 2006 ASJ, refer to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

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    Changes Over Time

    The questionnaire is modified periodically to capture information on evolving issues in criminal justice and topics of the greatest interest to users. Future modifications include enhancing our data collection instrument in an effort to address issues related to admissions and releases of inmates; inmate length of stay in jail; jail capacity and crowding; staff workload; and medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment issues.

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    American Indian and Alaska Natives in Local Jails, 1999-2014 Describes the population of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) held in local jails, including national and state level estimates, characteristics of adult AIAN inmates, and comparisons to all other races and Hispanic origin.
      Summary (PDF 211K) | PDF (703K) | ASCII file (40K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 18K)
    Part of the American Indians and Crime Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2015 Presents statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2015, including persons supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail.
      Press Release | PDF (787K) | ASCII file (43K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 23K)
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Jail Inmates in 2015 Presents information on the change in the number of jail inmates between 2000 and 2015 by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and conviction status. This report also provides estimates of year-to-year changes from 2000 to 2015 in the average daily population, rated capacity of local jails, and percent of capacity occupied.
      Press Release | Summary (PDF 163K) | PDF (582K) | ASCII file (24K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Spreadsheet 22K)


    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2014 Presents statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2014, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail.
      PDF (641K) | ASCII file (26K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 48K)
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013 Presents statistics on offenders supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2013, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in prison or local jail.
      Press Release | PDF (385K) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 36K)
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013 U.S. CORRECTIONAL POPULATION DECLINED BY LESS THAN 1 PERCENT FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
      Press Release
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Jail Inmates at Midyear 2013 - Statistical Tables (Revised) Presents estimates of the number of jail inmates at midyear 2013, by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and conviction status.
      Press Release | PDF (1.21M) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 43K)
    Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012 TOTAL U.S. CORRECTIONAL POPULATION DECLINED IN 2012 FOR FOURTH YEAR
      Press Release
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012 Summarizes data from various correctional collections to provide statistics on the number of offenders supervised by the adult correctional systems in the United States. Adult correctional systems include offenders supervised in the community under the authority of probation or parole agencies and inmates held in state and federal prisons or local jails.
      Press Release | PDF (766K) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 15K)
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Jail Inmates at Midyear 2012 - Statistical Tables Presents the number of jails and jail inmates at midyear 2012. This report describes annual change in jail populations and patterns of change from 2000 through 2012.
      Press Release | PDF (1.25M) | ASCII file (28K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 17K)
    Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

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    Related Topics

  • Corrections
  • Corrections | Total correctional population
  • Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities
  • Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities | Jail inmate characteristics
  • Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities | Local jail facility characteristics
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