BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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

Data Collection: Survey of Inmates in Federal Correctional Facilities (SIFCF)
Frequency: 1991, 1997, 2004.
Latest data available: 2004

First conducted in 1991 by a joint effort between BJS and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The survey is conducted concurrently with the SISCF and includes the same data items: individual characteristics of prison inmates, current offenses and sentences, characteristics of victims, criminal histories, family background, gun possession and use, prior drug and alcohol use and treatment, medical and mental health history and treatment, educational programs and other services provided while in prison, as well as other personal characteristics. Data were collected through personal interviews with a nationally representative sample of inmates held in Federally-owned and -operated facilities. The survey utilized a two-stage sample design in which prisons were selected in the first stage and inmates within prisons were selected in the second stage.

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Collection Period


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Survey of Inmates in Federal Correctional Facilities
2004 PDF (1M) | 1997 PDF (560K)
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The sample for the 2004 survey was selected from the universe of all federally-owned and -operated prisons as provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.The sample design was a stratified two-stage selection, in which prisons were selected in the first stage and inmates to be interviewed were selected in the second stage. In the first sampling stage, one female and two male facilities were selected with certainty based on the size of the facilities. The remaining facilties were separated into seven separate strata based on the security level of the facility and the male and female populations in each prison. Due to the large proportion of drug offenders in the Federal system, the second-stage sampling for the Federal survey involved a two-step process to ensure increased representation of nondrug offenders within the sample while still including enough drug offenders to produce reliable estimates on the drug offender population. First, an oversample of inmates was selected to ensure a large enough sample of non-drug offenders was selected; from this initial list, 1 of every 3 drug offenders was retained. The weighting procedure consisted of a base weight for each inmate, and four adjustment factors that produced the final weight for the survey. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with inmates using computer-assisted personal interviewing.

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Changes Over Time

The questionnaire is modified with each iteration in order to capture information on evolving issues in criminal justice and topics of the greatest interest to users. Recent modifications include enhanced questions on medical and mental health histories of inmates.

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Publications & Products

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

Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children Presents data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities about inmates who were parents and their minor children.
  Press Release | PDF (175K) | ASCII file (38K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 22K) | To order paper version

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Related Topics

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