Sentencing and Corrections - Jail Inmates
facilities jails percent population
Inmates may be in jails for a variety of reasons:
- They may be individuals waiting for arraignment, trial, conviction, and/or sentencing, or they may be probation, parole, and bail bond violators.
- Juveniles may be temporarily jailed to wait for transfer to juvenile facilities.
- Mentally ill persons are often held in jails pending transfer to mental health facilities.
Table 6.6 lists these and other reasons for holding inmates in jails.
Jails are a generally neglected part of the corrections system. They frequently fail to meet minimum standards
|Number of sentenced prisoners|
|55 or older||38,900||21,500||10,800||4,800||1,900||1,200||500||200|
|Note: Based on custody counts from National Prisoners Statistics and updated from jurisdiction counts by gender at yearend. Estimates by age derived from the Surveys of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional facilities, 1997. Estimates were rounded to the nearest 100.|
|1Includes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.|
|SOURCE: Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck, "Table 13: Number of Sentenced Prisoners under State and Federal Jurisdiction by Gender, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Age, 2002," in "Prisoners in 2002," Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, July 2003|
for space, care, and staffing and have to mix a wide range of inmates—hardened criminals awaiting trial, those with serious mental problems or addictions, drunks disturbing the peace, and those who are not yet convicted (and may never be). Because the stay in jail is usually brief, medical care, recreation, and opportunities for work or activity are frequently minimal.
Population in the Nation's Jails
Department of Justice statisticians Paige M. Harrison and Jennifer C. Karberg report on the U.S. jail population in "Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2002" (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D.C., April 2003). At midyear 2002, 737,912 persons were under some form of jail supervision, either confined in jails or supervised outside jail facilities, up from 702,044 in 2001. Of those, 665,475 were being held in jail, while the remaining persons were in jail-supervised programs such as electronic monitoring or community service or other work programs.
For the year ending June 26, 2002, the average daily jail population was 652,082, up from 618,319 in 2000 and 509,828 in 1995. Between 1995 and 2002 the average daily population of female jail inmates rose from 51,300 to 76,817, while the male population increased from 448,000 to 581,441. Proportionally the number of female inmates grew from 10 percent of the jail inmate population to 11.7 percent, and the number of males decreased from 90 percent to 88.3 percent.
Minority groups accounted for a majority (54.5 percent) of local jail inmates in 2002. Non-Hispanic whites made up 43.8 percent of the jail population; non-Hispanic African-Americans, 39.8 percent; and Hispanics, 14.7 percent. Other races (Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska Natives) accounted for 1.6
percent. Among non-Hispanic African-Americans, the jail incarceration rate (740 per 100,000) was more than five times that of non-Hispanic whites (147 per 100,000) and almost three times the rate of Hispanics (256 per 100,000).
Most juveniles in correctional custody were housed in juvenile facilities. However, at midyear 2002 an estimated 7,248 persons under age 18 were kept in adult jails, most having been tried as adults or awaiting trial as adults in criminal court.
The Growing Jail Population
From 1995 to 2002 the number of jail inmates grew from 507,044 to 665,475, a rise in the jail incarceration rate from 193 to 231 jail inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents. In June 2002 jails housed 33 percent of all incarcerated prisoners, the same as at midyear 2001. Since jail sentences
|Type of facility|
|All facilities||Confinement facilities||Community-based facilities|
|Note: As of June 30, 2000, there were no persons under age 18 in federal facilities. Age information was not available for 1,471 state inmates.|
|*Includes facilities with the security designations super maximum, close, or high.|
|SOURCE: "Table 6.33: Prisoners under Age 18 in State and Private Adult Correctional Facilities, by Type of Facility, Security Level, and Region, United States, June 30, 2000," in Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2002, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DC, 2003|
remained stable at about seven months, the dramatic growth of the local jail population seemed more related to the increased number of arrests than to longer sentences. In June 2002 jails were about 93 percent occupied.