BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  | Terms & Definitions: Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities | Jail inmate characteristics
Terms & Definitions: Jail inmate characteristics

To have custody of a prisoner, a state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must physically hold that person in one of its facilities. A locality, state, or the BOP may hold inmates over whom a different government maintains jurisdiction.

Design capacity
The number of inmates that planners or architects intended for the facility.

Jail inmates
Offenders confined in short-term facilities that are usually administered by a local law enforcement agency and that are intended for adults but sometimes hold juveniles before or after adjudication. Jail inmates usually have a sentence of less than 1 year or are being held pending a trial, awaiting sentencing, or awaiting transfer to other facilities after a conviction.

A unit of government or the legal authority to exercise governmental power. In corrections, it refers to the government that has legal authority over an inmate (state or federal). Prisoners under a given state's jurisdiction may be housed in another state or local correctional facility.

Operational capacity
The number of inmates that can be accommodated based on a facility's staff, existing programs, and services.

Rated capacity
The number of beds or inmates assigned by a rating official to institutions within the jurisdiction.

Total incarceration rate
The number of inmates held in the custody of state or federal prisons or in local jails, per 100,000 U.S. residents.

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