Presents findings from the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, 2002, the only national source of detailed information on persons held in local jails. The report describes the characteristics of jail inmates in 2002, including offenses, conviction status, criminal histories, sentences, time served, drug and alcohol use and treatment, and family background. Characteristics of jail inmates include gender, race, and Hispanic origin. Changes since the 1996 inmate survey are examined. Data in 2002 were compiled from in-depth personal interviews with a nationally representative sample of nearly 7,000 inmates in about 417 local jails.
- Jail inmates were older on average in 2002 than 1996; 38% were age 35 or older, up from 32% in 1996.
- Half of all jail inmates in 2002 were held for a violent or drug offense, nearly unchanged from 1996.
- In 2002, 41% percent of jail inmates had a current or prior violent offense; 46% were nonviolent recidivists; 13% had a current or prior drug offense only.