BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Home | Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities | Jail inmate characteristics
Jail inmate characteristics
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The Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ) collects information on the jail inmate population, including inmate counts and basic demographic characteristics. Data on the jail population are also collected in complete censuses conducted every 5 to 7 years and in annual sample surveys in years when censuses are not conducted. Jail censuses include information on confined and nonconfined persons under supervision of jail authorities, inmate counts and movements, staffing, and facility programs. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports state-by-state data on the jail inmate population during census years. The ASJ is a sample and does not allow for state-level estimates. The Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (SILJ), conducted periodically, provides national estimates of jail inmate characteristics (see Jail Data Collections and Surveys for more information).

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


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

Indicators of Mental Health Problems Reported by Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-2012 Presents prevalence estimates of mental health indicators among state and federal prisoners and jail inmates by different time periods, demographics, criminal justice history, most serious offense, mental health treatment received while incarcerated, and rule violations.
  Press Release (Press Release) | Summary (PDF 190K) | PDF (626K) | ASCII file (46K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 22K)

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)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

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)
Part of the Veterans in State and Federal Prisons Series

Jail Inmates at Midyear 2014 THE NATION'S JAILS HELD FEWER INMATES AT MIDYEAR 2014 COMPARED TO THEIR PEAK COUNT IN 2008
  Press Release

Jail Inmates at Midyear 2014 Presents estimates of the number of jail inmates at midyear 2014 by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and conviction status.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 21K) | Full report (PDF 450K) | ASCII file (28K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 43K)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

Jails in Indian Country, 2013 Presents findings from the 2013 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.
  PDF (847K) | ASCII file (42K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 32K)
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.
 
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.
 
Jurisdiction 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.
 
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