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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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 of their facilities
  • sometimes operate community-based programs as alternatives to incarceration.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


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) | PDF (670K) | ASCII file (64K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 43K)

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2015 Presents statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2015, including persons supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail.
  Press Release | PDF (787K) | ASCII file (43K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 23K)
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Jail Inmates in 2015 Presents information on the change in the number of jail inmates between 2000 and 2015 by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and conviction status. This report also provides estimates of year-to-year changes from 2000 to 2015 in the average daily population, rated capacity of local jails, and percent of capacity occupied.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 163K) | PDF (582K) | ASCII file (24K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Spreadsheet 22K)

Jails in Indian Country, 2015 Describes jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  Summary (PDF 211K) | PDF (845K) | ASCII file (17K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 41K)
Part of the Jails in Indian Country Series

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2014 Presents statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2014, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail.
  PDF (641K) | ASCII file (26K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 48K)
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Disabilities Among Prison and Jail Inmates, 2011–12 ABOUT A THIRD OF PRISON AND JAIL INMATES REPORTED A DISABILITY IN 201112
  Press Release

Disabilities Among Prison and Jail Inmates, 2011–12 Presents the prevalence of disabilities among prison and jail inmates, detailing the prevalence of six specific disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 242K) | PDF (651K) | ASCII file (95K) | Zip format (15K)

Census of Jails: Population Changes, 1999–2013 Presents state-level estimates of the number of inmates confined in local jails at year end 2013, by sex, race, and Hispanic origin.
  Summary (PDF 234K) | PDF (994K) | ASCII file (35K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 23K)
Part of the Census of Jails Series

Veterans in Prison and Jail, 2011–2012 Presents counts and rates of veterans in state and federal prison and local jail in 2011 and 2012.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 247K) | PDF (541K) | ASCII file (34K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 35K)

Jails in Indian Country, 2014 Presents findings from the 2014 Survey of Jails in Indian Country, an enumeration of 79 jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 210K) | PDF (874K) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 53K)
Part of the Jails in Indian Country Series

Terms & Definitions

Custody 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.
 
Incarcerated population Incarcerated population is the population of inmates confined in a prison or a jail. This may also include halfway-houses, bootcamps, weekend programs, and other facilities in which individuals are locked up overnight.
 
Indian country jails Indian country adult and juvenile detention centers, jails, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
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.
 
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