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1 Includes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, and Pacific Islanders.
3 Rated capacity is the number of beds or inmates assigned to facilities within each jurisdiction.
4 Includes inmates not classified by conviction status.
5 Juveniles are persons defined by State statute as being under a certain age, usually 18, and subject initially to juvenile court authority even if tried as adults in criminal court. In 1994 the definition was changed to include all persons under age 18.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Profile of Jail Inmates, 1978 and 1989; Jail Inmates, annual; Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear, annual.
* Jail Census
The National Jail Census is taken every 5 years and is conducted for the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Data are presented for censuses conducted in 1983, 1988, and 1993. For 1983, questionnaires were mailed to all (3,358) locally administered jails in the Nation. For 1988, questionnaires were mailed to 3,448 locally administered jails. Forty-four jails were added to the initial mailing and 176 were deleted, yielding a final count of 3,316 facilities for 1988. Through the use of various followup procedures, a response rate of 99 percent was achieved for 1983, and 100 percent for 1988.
The most recent census, conducted in 1993, included all locally administered confinement facilities (3,287) that hold inmates beyond arraignment and are staffed by municipal or county employees. The census also included 17 jails that were privately operated under contract for local governments and 7 facilities maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and functioning as jails.
Excluded from the census were temporary holding facilities, such as drunk tanks and police lockups, that do not hold persons after being formally charged in court (usually within 72 hours of arrest). Also excluded were State-operated facilities in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which have combined jail-prison systems. Five locally operated jails in Alaska were included.
The mailing list used for the census was derived from the National Justice Agency List maintained by the U.S. Bureau of the Census for BJS. The census forms were mailed to 3,506 facilities on June 22, 1993. Twenty-eight jails were added to the initial mailing and 230 were deleted, resulting in a total of 3,304 facilities.
After extensive followup, including additional mail requests and repeated telephone contacts, all jails (except those in one jurisdiction) provided data for four critical data items--number of inmates, average daily population, rated capacity, and sex of inmates housed. Data on these four items for the nonresponding jails were imputed based on data reported in the 1994 Annual Survey of Jails.
Completed forms with data for all or most items were received for 2,981 jails, resulting in a 90 percent response rate. These reporting jails housed 93 percent of all local jail inmates on June 30, 1993. Because there was nonresponse and incomplete data on all census items except the four critical items, national totals had to be estimated. Readers interested in the estimation procedures employed should consult the original source.
Annual Survey of Jails
In each of the 4 years between the full censuses, a survey of jails is conducted to estimate baseline characteristics of the Nation's jails and inmates housed in the jails. Data from the Annual Survey of Jails are presented for 1984-87, 1989-92, and 1994. The reference date for each of these surveys was June 30, except 1990 and 1991 when the reference dates were June 29 and June 28, respectively. All surveys prior to the 1994 survey were based on all jails in jurisdictions with 100 or more jail inmates and a stratified random sample of jurisdictions with an average daily population of less than 100 inmates. For 1984, 1,164 jails in 893 jurisdictions were included; in 1985, 1,142 jails in 874 jurisdictions were included; in 1986, 1,137 jails in 868 jurisdictions were included; in 1987, 1,135 jails in 866 jurisdictions were included; in 1989, 1,128 jails in 809 jurisdictions were included; in 1990, 1,135 jails in 804 jurisdictions were included; in 1991, 1,124 jails in 799 jurisdictions were included; and in 1992, 1,113 jails in 795 jurisdictions were included.
A new sample of jail jurisdictions was selected for the 1994 survey using information from the 1993 census. A jurisdiction is a county (parish in Louisiana) or municipal government that administers one or more local jails. The sample included all jails in 796 selected jail jurisdictions and 23 multijurisdiction jails. A multijurisdiction jail is one in which two or more jurisdictions have a formal agreement to operate the facility.
In drawing the sample for 1994, jail jurisdictions were first stratified into two groups: single jurisdiction jails and multijurisdiction jails. All of the multijurisdiction jails were included in the survey. The remaining jurisdictions were then further stratified into two groups: jurisdictions with jails authorized to hold juveniles and jurisdictions with jails holding only adults. Jurisdictions were then selected based on the average daily population in the 1993 census. All jails in 203 jurisdictions were automatically included if the jurisdiction held juveniles and had an average daily population of 250 or more inmates in 1993 or if they held only adults and had an average population of 500 or more. The other jurisdictions (593) were then selected based on stratified probability sampling. Data were obtained by mailed questionnaires. After followup phone calls to nonrespondents, the response rate for the survey was 100 percent.
National estimates for the inmate population on June 30, 1994, were produced by sex, race/Hispanic origin, and age group, and for the average daily population during the year ending June 30, 1994. National estimates also were produced for rated capacity.
Survey estimates have an associated sampling error because jurisdictions with smaller average daily populations were sampled for the survey. Estimates based on the sample survey may differ somewhat from the results of conducting a complete census. Different samples could yield somewhat different results. Standard error is a measure of the variation among the estimates from all possible samples, stating the precision with which an estimate from a particular sample approximates the average of all possible samples. The estimated relative sampling error for the total inmate population of 490,442 on June 30, 1994, was 0.50 percent. The data were tested to determine whether differences between 1993 census counts and 1994 survey estimates were statistically significant. All differences meet or exceed the 95 percent confidence level.
Measures of population
Two measures of inmate population are used: the average daily population for the year ending June 30 and the inmate count on June 30 of each year. The average daily population balances out any extraordinary events that may render atypical the inmate count on June 30. The June 30 count provides data on characteristics of inmates, such as race, Hispanic origin, and age, that may not be available on an annual basis.
State statutes and judicial practices allow juveniles to be incarcerated in adult jails under a variety of circumstances. Because of the differing statutes and practices, however, accurate and comparable data on juveniles are difficult to collect. The 1994 Annual Survey of Jails provides new and more accurate estimates of the juvenile population. For the first time, the survey provides estimates of the total number of jail inmates under age 18, the number held as adults, and the number held as juveniles. New sampling procedures also were introduced in 1994 to minimize the standard errors of these estimates. By stratifying jurisdictions based on the authority to house juveniles, the precision of the juvenile counts were improved. Jail - confinement in a local jail while pending trial, awaiting sentencing, serving a sentence that is usually less than 1 year, or awaiting transfer to other facilities after conviction. Reference date is June 30.
Rated capacity Rated capacity is the number of beds or inmates assigned to facilities within each jurisdiction.
Percent of rated capacity Percent of rated capacity occupied is based on the 1-day count of inmates. This ratio may include some inmates not in physical custody but under the jurisdiction of a local jail, such as inmates on electronic monitoring, under house arrest, or in day reporting or other community supervision programs.
These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.
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