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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Data on the jail inmate population, including inmate counts, demographic characteristics, and basic criminal justice characteristics, are collected through the Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ). Data on the jail inmate population are also collected in the Census of Jails every 5 to 7 years. State-level estimates on the jail inmate population and characteristics are available from the Census of Jails. The ASJ is a sample survey and provides national estimates only. The Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (SILJ), conducted periodically, also provides national estimates of jail inmate characteristics (see Jail Data Collections and Surveys for more information).

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

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

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)

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) | Full report (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) | Full report (PDF 582K) | ASCII file (24K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Spreadsheet 22K)
Part of the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series

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.
 
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.
 
Jail A confinement facility generally operated under the authority of a sheriff, police chief, or county or city administrator. A small number of jails are privately operated. Regional jails include two or more jail jurisdictions with a formal agreement to operate a jail facility. Facilities include jails, detention centers, county or city correctional centers, special jail facilities (such as medical or treatment centers and pre-release centers), and temporary holding or lockup facilities that are part of the jail's combined function. Jails are intended for adults but can hold juveniles before or after their cases are adjudicated.
 
Jail incarceration rate The number of inmates held in the custody of local jails, per 100,000 U.S. residents.
 
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