U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

National Inmate Survey (NIS-4) 2019-20 - Jails

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $6,999,401)

The National Prison Rape Statistics Program, developed upon passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, entails the collection of both administrative and self-report data on sexual violence from State and Federal prisons, locally-operated jails, and public and private facilities for juvenile offenders in the nation. One of the data collection efforts that supports the NPRS includes the National Inmate Survey (NIS-4) in Jails. In 2007, 2008-09 and again in 2011-12 BJS has collected data from inmates in jails using an audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI), wherein inmates heard questions and instructions via headphones and entered their responses using a touch screen. The NIS-3 was conducted in 233 state and federal prisons, 358 local jails, and 15 special confinement facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. military, and correctional authorities in Indian country. A total of 92,449 inmates age 18 or older participated in NIS-3, including 38,251 prison inmates, 52,926 jail inmates, 573 ICE detainees, 539 inmates in military facilities, and 160 inmates in Indian country facilities. The survey was also administered to 527 youth ages 16 to 17 held in state prisons and 1,211 youth ages 16 to 17 in local jails. The first report from NIS-3 was Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011–12. The data collected in NIS-1, NIS-2 and NIS-3 were used to develop national- and facility-level (for large facilities) estimates of sexual assault. Data from the surveys were included in three previous reports from the Attorney General, which were submitted to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Review Panel on Prison Rape, as specified under the Act. The reports provided detailed results from the surveys, including facility rankings and summary findings. They identified facilities with the highest and lowest rates of sexual violence, which the Review Panel on Prison Rape used to solicit testimony from correctional administrators of these facilities. Under this award, Westat will carry out the fourth annual National Inmate Survey in Jails (NIS-4). NIS-4 will build on the past surveys by obtaining more details on specific incidents. During 2016, BJS undertook a comprehensive assessment to examine the substantive gaps in the NIS-3 sexual assault questionnaires, and BJS intends to obtain more details on specific incidents in the NIS-4. NIS-4 will include new measures with special emphasis on the nature and circumstances surrounding staff sexual misconduct and boundary violations, collusion among inmates and staff surrounding victimization, impact on victims, and other factors related to facility climate, institutional culture, and correctional leadership. In addition, BJS intends to improve the measurement of facility characteristics that may co-vary with sexual victimization. This assessment also included a review of the NIS-3 survey protocol, sampling methodologies, and analytical products to develop an optimal design to provide reliable facility-level estimates for jail facilities. The NIS-4 will incorporate the recommendations from this critical assessment for achieving greater efficiency and cost savings for this round of data collection and to ensure that the survey will maximize data quality and minimize the burden on sampled facilities.


Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.

Date Created: September 21, 2018