U.S. flag

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

Jails in Indian Country, 2011

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2012                          Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-9320


WASHINGTON­ – At midyear 2011, a total of 2,239 inmates were confined in Indian country jails, a 5.7 percent increase from the 2,119 inmates confined at midyear 2010, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Indian country jails are operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Nationwide, 78,700 American Indians and Alaska Natives were under correctional supervision in the United States in 2011. Over 60 percent of these offenders (49,000) were under supervision in the community on probation or parole, 19 percent (14,600) were held in state prison, 4 percent (3,500) in federal prison, 12 percent (9,400) in municipal or county operated local jails, and three percent were held in Indian country jails.

Eighty Indian country jails in operation in 2011 reported inmate counts to BJS, up from 75 facilities operating in 2010. As a result of the five additional facilities, the rated capacity of Indian country jails—or the maximum number of beds or inmates assigned by a rating official—rose to 3,188 inmates in 2011. The average expected length of stay for inmates in Indian country jail was about five days in June 2011.

Fourteen Indian country jails held more than half (52 percent) of all inmates at midyear 2011. Four of these facilities held more than 100 inmates, including Tohono O'odham Adult Detention Center (AZ) (195), Gila River Department of Rehabilitation and Supervision - Adult (AZ) (155), San Carlos Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - Adult (AZ) (123) and Pine Ridge Police Department and Adult Detention (SD) (101).

Admissions to Indian country jails during June 2011 (12,784 inmates) were about six times the size of the average daily population. Admissions to the largest Indian country jails (rated to hold 50 or more inmates) decreased by 21 percent in the 15 facilities that reported on admissions in both 2010 and 2011.

In 2011, more than half of all inmates held in Indian country jails were convicted. A third of all inmates were held for a violent offense, mainly domestic violence and aggravated or simple assault (12 percent each). About 11 percent were held for DWI/DUI and 5 percent for drug law violations.

Indian country jails reported 33 attempted suicides in 2011.  There were no suicide deaths during the year. Between 2002 and 2011, the number of attempted suicides declined nearly 90 percent, from 215 down to 28 attempted suicides, based on facilities reporting in both years.

The 78 Indian country jails that reported information on staff employed 1,607 persons at midyear 2011. About 73 percent (1,180) of these personnel were jail operations staff, including correctional officers and other staff who spent more than 50 percent of their time supervising inmates. This was up from 69 percent of all staff during the same period in 2010.

An addendum to the 2011 annual survey collected information on inmate health services and specialized programs, and 75 facilities responded to at least a portion of the addendum. Most facilities reported that they had policies to test for infectious diseases such as HIV (58), hepatitis B and hepatitis C (61) and tuberculosis (63), provided mental health services (68) to inmates and performed suicide risk assessment at intake (69).

Most Indian country jails also offered alcohol dependency programs (62) and drug dependency (59) programs. Indian country jails also offered domestic violence counseling (40) and sex offender treatment (8) to inmates.

Thirty-six jails in Indian country offered inmates GED classes, 17 provided vocational training or classes in job-seeking and interviewing, and 13 offered college-level classes. Fifty-one jails offered inmate work assignments that included facility support services, public work assignments, farming and agriculture work, and work in correctional industries.

The report, Jails in Indian Country, 2011 (NCJ 238978), was written by BJS statistician Todd D. Minton. Following publication, the report can be found at http://www.bjs.gov. Upon release of the report, the public-use data set for the 2011 Survey of Jails in Indian Country is available at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data at http://dx.doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34354.v1.

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

# # #

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Date Published: September 25, 2012