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 Local Jails (SILJ)
Status: Active
Frequency: 1972, 1978, 1983, 1989, 1996, and 2002
Latest data available: 2002

Conducted periodically, the survey provides information on individual characteristics of jail inmates, current offenses and detention status, 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, vocational programs and other services provided while in jails, as well as other personal characteristics. Data are collected through personal interviews with a nationally representative sample of inmates in local jails. The survey utilized a two-stage sample design in which jails were selected in the first stage and inmates within local jails were selected in the second stage.

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Collection Period

1996, 2002

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Questionnaires

Survey of Inmates in Local Jails
2002 PDF (957K) | 1996 PDF (886K)
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Documentation

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Methodology

The sample for the 2002 survey was selected from the universe of all jails in the United States, which were enumerated in the 1999 Census of Jails. The sample design was a stratified two-stage selection in which jails were selected in the first stage and inmates to be interviewed were selected in the second stage. In the first sampling stage, six separate strata were formed based on the size of the male, female, and juvenile populations in each jail. In strata one and two, all jails were selected to ensure jails with large numbers of males, females, or juveniles had a higher probability of selection than jails with a small inmate population. 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 jail inmates using computer-assisted personal interviewing.

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Changes Over Time

Periodically, changes are made to the questionnaires to improve measurement and to collect new information on evolving issues in criminal justice and topics of greatest interest to the field and data users. Recent modifications include enhanced questions on medical and mental health histories of inmates. In 2002, the sample design was modified to ensure a representative sample of juveniles being held in local jails.

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Publications & Products

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

Medical Problems of Jail Inmates Presents findings on jail inmates who reported a current medical problem, a physical or mental impairment, or an injury since admission based on data from the 2002 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails.
  Press Release | PDF (280K) | ASCII file (25K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 21K) | To order paper version


Substance Dependence, Abuse, and Treatment of Jail Inmates, 2002 Presents data from the 2002 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails on inmates' prior use, dependence, and abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs and provides data on types of substance abuse treatment or other programs reported by jail inmates.
  PDF (211K) | ASCII file (35K) | ZIP Format (Spreadsheet 19K) | To order paper version


Selected characteristics of jail inmates, by conviction status, 2002 and 1996 Table 1 of Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002
  Download CSV file (Spreadsheet 3 KB)


Profile of Jail Inmates, 1996 Presents data about local jail inmates: their demographic characteristics, offenses, conviction status, criminal histories, sentences, time served, drug and alcohol use and treatment, family background, physical and mental health care, and conditions of confinement.
  Press Release | PDF (138K) | ASCII file (49K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 49K) | Codebooks and Datasets
Part of the Profile of Jail Inmates Series

Drunk Driving: 1989 Survey of Inmates of Local Jails This report examines the characteristics of persons who were confined in local jails under a charge or conviction for drunk driving in 1989.
  PDF


Women in Jail, 1989 Interviews with a representative sample of inmates in 424 of the nation's 3,316 jails in 1989 gathered information on the characteristics and backgrounds of women held in locally operated jails.
  PDF


Profile of Jail Inmates, 1989 Based on the 1989 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, this report describes characteristics of jail inmates.
  PDF
Part of the Profile of Jail Inmates Series

Jail Inmates, 1983 This survey used personal interviews with a stratified random sample of 3,992 male and 1,793 female inmates of 407 local jails to identify sociodemographic and criminal characteristics of the 1983 jail inmate population.
  PDF


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Related Topics

  • Corrections
  • Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities
  • Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities | Jail inmate characteristics
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