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Jails and Jail Inmates, 1993-94: Census of Jails and Survey of Jails



ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 5 P.M. EDT                             BJS 
SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 1995                               202-307-0784


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The nation's local jails held a record
490,442 men and women as of last June 30, the Department of Justice
announced today.  During the 12 months preceding June 30, 1994, the jail
population grew 6.7 percent--less than the 7.5 percent average annual
increase for the 1983-1993 period.

     During the last decade the nation's jail population has almost doubled
on a per capita basis.  In mid-1994 the number of jail inmates per 100,000
U.S. residents was 188--up from 96 in 1983.  

     Local jails, which are operated by counties and municipalities, housed
one-third of the almost 1.5 million people incarcerated in the U.S. in
mid-1994--the other two-thirds were in state or federal prisons.

     The Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that the
reasons for the jail population increase during the last decade include a
growth in adult arrests, a rise in the number of felons sentenced to serve
time in a local jail and a growth in the number of people being held in
jails because of state or federal prison crowding.  Moreover, jail inmates
held for drug offenses grew faster than did other types of offenders.

     As of last June, the nation's jails were operating at 97 percent
capacity despite a near doubling of the number of beds since 1983.  The
largest facilities, those with an average daily population of 500 or more
inmates, were the most crowded-- operating overall at more than 100
percent of capacity.  More than half of the nation's jail inmates were
housed in these large facilities.  The smallest facilities, with an average
of fewer than 50 inmates, were the least crowded--operating at 67 percent
of capacity.

     Thirty-nine percent of the inmates were white non-Hispanics, 44
percent were black non-Hispanics, 15 percent were Hispanics of any race
and 2 percent were non-Hispanics of other races.  Relative to the number
of residents in the U.S. population, black non-Hispanics were more than
twice as likely as Hispanics, almost seven times more likely than white
non-Hispanics and more than nine times more likely than people of other
races to have been held in a local jail last June 30.  Among the 483,717
adult inmates there were 434,838 men and 48,879 women.  

     Approximately 6,725 people being held in jails were younger than 18
years old--about 5,100 had been convicted as adults orwere being held for
trial in adult criminal courts, and approximately 1,500 were being held as
     Based on data collected from each of the nation's 3,300 jails, five
states held almost half of all local jail inmates-- California with 69,298;
Texas, 55,395; Florida, 34,183; New York, 29,809 and Georgia, 22,663.

     Twenty-one states reported a jail population that more than doubled
between 1983 and 1993, with growth ranging from 103 percent in
Maryland to 264 percent in Texas.  On the other hand, in four states,
Maine, Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming, the jailinmate population grew
less than 50 percent.  

     States that had the largest number of inmates per 100,000 residents
were Louisiana (377), Georgia (328), Texas (307), Tennessee (282),
California (222) and Nevada (215).  Iowa, Maine and North Dakota (each
with 57 inmates per 100,000 residents); Minnesota and Montana (81) and
South Dakota (87) had the smallest.

     About 6 percent of the jail facilities housed more than halfof all jail
inmates on June 30, 1993.  And last year the nation's 25 largest jail
jurisdictions accounted for 30 percent of all jail inmates.  The jurisdictions
were in 12 states--seven in California, five in Texas, four in Florida and
one each in New York, Illinois, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia and Michigan.  

     Although not all jails were able to provide complete inmate death
data, among those that were, 647 inmates died during 1993. Of these, 290
were from natural causes or diseases other than AIDS (45 percent), 234
committed suicide (36 percent), 63 died from AIDS (10 percent) 19 were
murdered (3 percent) and 41 died of other causes (6 percent), such as
alcohol or drug overdoses (17) accidental injuries (9) and attempted
escapes (3).

     Between 1983 and 1993, when comparable statistics were collected,
correctional staffs grew more rapidly than the inmate population--by
almost 10 percent a year, while the number of jail inmates grew by more
than 7 percent a year.  At midyear 1993, local jails employed 165,500
persons, the equivalent of about 1 employee for every 2.8 inmates.  

     For the 12 months ending June 30, 1993, local governments
throughout the U.S. spent an estimated $9.6 billion on jails, including all
operating and capital expenditures.  This total (not adjusted for inflation)
was more than triple the $2.7 billion spent in 1983.  

     Excluding capital outlays, the average cost to keep one jail inmate
incarcerated for a year was $14,667--up from $9,360 a decade ago. 
Adjusted for inflation, however, the annual cost per inmate decreased by
11 percent--to $8,329 in 1983 dollars.  

     The data are from the 1993 Census of Jails and the 1994 Annual
Survey of Jails.  Every five years the census collects detailed information
about local jails, and the annual surveys provide national estimates on
fewer items.

     Single copies of the bulletin, "Jails and Jail Inmates 1993-94"
(NCJ-151651), written by BJS statisticians Craig A. Perkins, James J.
Stephan and Allen J. Beck, may be obtained from the BJS Clearinghouse,
Box 179, Annapolis Junction, Maryland 20701-0179.  The telephone
number is 1-800-732-3277.  Fax orders to 410-792-4358.  

     Data from tables and graphs used in many BJS reports can be obtained
in spreadsheet files on 5. and 3. inch diskettes by calling 202-307-0784. 
                             # # # 
After hours contact:  Stu Smith 301-983-9354
Date Published: April 30, 1995