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Publication Jail Inmates in 2018

Zhen Zeng, Ph.D., BJS Statistician

March 31, 2020    NCJ 253044

This report is the 32nd in a series that began in 1982. It provides statistics based on BJS's Annual Survey of Jails and Census of Jail Inmates. It describes the number of inmates held in local jails, jail incarceration rates, demographic characteristics of jail inmates, number of admissions to jail, jail capacity, inmate turnover rates, and staff employed in local jails.


  • The jail incarceration rate decreased 12% from 2008 to 2018, from 258 to 226 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents.
  • In 2018, jails reported 10.7 million admissions, a 21% decline from 2008.
  • In 2018, more than two-thirds (68%) of jail inmates were held for felony charges.
  • The male jail inmate population decreased 9% from 2008 to 2018, while the female inmate population increased 15%.
  • From 2008 to 2018, the jail incarceration rate increased by 12% for whites and decreased by about 30% for blacks (28%) and Hispanics (33%).

Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

Press Release (179K)
Summary (PDF 479K)
Full report (PDF 825K)
Data tables (Zip format 40K)

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

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