BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home | Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities
Local jail inmates and jail facilities
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The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collects information on jail inmates and jail facilities from administrative records maintained by local jurisdictions and through periodic personal interviews with inmates held in local jails (see Jail Data Collections and Surveys for more information). Jails are correctional facilities that confine persons before or after adjudication and are usually operated by local law enforcement authorities. Jail sentences are usually for 1 year or less. Jails also—

  • receive individuals pending arraignment and hold those awaiting trial, conviction, or sentencing
  • remit probation, parole, and bail-bond violators and absconders
  • temporarily detain juveniles pending transfer to juvenile authorities
  • hold mentally ill persons pending transfer to appropriate mental health facilities
  • hold individuals for the military, for protective custody, for contempt, and for the courts as witnesses
  • release inmates to the community upon completion of sentence
  • transfer inmates to federal, state, or other authorities
  • house inmates for federal, state, or other authorities because of crowding in their facilities
  • sometimes operate community-based programs as alternatives to incarceration.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Jail Inmates in 2019 This report is the 33rd in a series that began in 1982. It provides statistics based on BJS's Annual Survey of Jails and Census of Jails.
  Press Release (32K) | Summary (PDF 197K) | Full report (PDF 601K) | Data tables (Zip format 23K)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

Impact of COVID-19 on the Local Jail Population, January-June 2020 This report describes the impact of COVID-19 on the local jail population during the 6-month period from January to June 2020, including the impact on the release of jail inmates, admissions to jails, jail capacity, and incarceration rates.
  Press Release (32K) | Summary (PDF 195K) | Full report (PDF 743K) | Data tables (Zip format 30K)

Jails in Indian Country, 2017-2018 This report is the 17th in a series that began in 1998. It provides statistics from BJS's Annual Survey of Jails in Indian Country on the demographic characteristics, most serious offense, and conviction status of the tribal inmate population, and it describes facility characteristics, including bed space and staffing.
  Full report (PDF 796K) | Data tables (Zip format 34K)
Part of the Jails in Indian Country Series

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2017-2018 This report is the 23rd in a series that began in 1985. It provides statistics on populations supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States, including persons held in prisons or jails and those supervised in the community on probation or parole.
  Full report (PDF 701K) | Data tables (Zip format 17K)
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Jail Inmates in 2018 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.
  Press Release (179K) | Summary (PDF 479K) | Full report (PDF 825K) | Data tables (Zip format 40K)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

Jail Inmates in 2017 Presents data on inmates confined in local jails from 2005 to 2017, including population counts and incarceration rates, inmate demographic characteristics and conviction status, admissions, jail capacity, and inmate turnover rates.
  Press Release (213K) | Summary (PDF 203K) | Full report (PDF 705K) | Data tables (Zip format 24K)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2016 Presents statistics on persons supervised by U.S. adult correctional systems at year-end 2016, including persons supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail.
  Press Release (71K) | Full report (PDF 635K) | Data tables (Spreadsheet 14K)
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Jail Inmates in 2016 Presents data on inmates confined in local jails between 2000 and 2016, including population counts and incarceration rates, inmate demographic characteristics and conviction status, average daily population, rated capacity of local jails and percent of capacity occupied, and turnover rates by jurisdiction size.
  Press Release (80K) | Summary (PDF 198K) | Full report (PDF 662K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 21K)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

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) | Full report (PDF 703K) | ASCII file (40K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 18K)
Part of the American Indians and Crime Series

Drug Use, Dependence, and Abuse Among State Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2007-2009 Presents prevalence estimates of drug use, drug use disorders, and participation in drug treatment programs among state prisoners and sentenced jail inmates, including trends in drug use over time by demographics and most serious offense, drug use at the time of offense and whether an inmate committed the offense to obtain drugs, and comparisons to the general population.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 221K) | Full report (PDF 670K) | ASCII file (64K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 43K)

Terms & Definitions

Admissions All persons booked into and housed in jail facilities by formal legal document and the authority of the courts or some other official agency, including repeat offenders booked on new charges and persons sentenced to weekend programs or entering the facility for the first time. They exclude inmates re-entering the facility after an escape, work release, medical appointment, stay in a treatment facility, and bail or court appearance.
 
Average daily population The sum of inmates in jail each day for a year, divided by the number of days in the year.
 
Design capacity The number of inmates that planners or architects intended for the facility.
 
Expected average length of stay The average daily population (ADP) divided by the number of annual admissions, then multiplied by the number of days in a year.
 
Incarcerated population Incarcerated population is the population of inmates confined in a prison or a jail. This may also include halfway houses, boot camps, weekend programs, and other facilities in which individuals are locked up overnight.
 
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