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Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (SILJ), 2024-2025

The SILJ in 2024-25

Survey of Inmates in Local Jails Infographic

What information does the SILJ collect? 

The SILJ examines jail populations over a variety of topics, including information from the inmates on their: 

  • education, work experience, military service, family background, and citizenship status 
  • current charges and prior criminal history 
  • physical and mental health conditions and treatment received 
  • drug and alcohol use before admission to jail 
  • experiences in jail and use of jail programs. 

BJS will use these data to publish national-level information in a series of special reports, statistical briefs, statistical tables, and other products on issues relevant to jail inmates, such as:

  • substance use and treatment
  • mental health problems and treatment
  • co-occurring mental health and substance use issues
  • medical problems
  • firearms use during crime
  • veterans in jail
  • access to legal representation
  • inmate misconduct
  • monetary sanctions (court costs, fees, fines, restitution, and other financial liabilities related to contact with the justice system)
  • characteristics of inmates’ victims.

Professionals in criminal justice, medical and mental health, substance abuse treatment, social services, and other fields download and use the SILJ public-use file. It is widely cited in external publications. The file is available at: https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/studies/4359/utilization

Why should jails and inmates participate? 

We know that jail administrators have many responsibilities and priorities, and we truly appreciate their time and effort to allow BJS to conduct this study in their facilities. This data collection is key to disseminating comprehensive national data on jail inmates and vital to understanding the changing correctional populations and policy-relevant subjects. The SILJ is the only national source of detailed information on the characteristics of jail inmates, and the success and accuracy of the survey depend on facility and inmate participation. The survey allows practitioners to compare their facilities, inmates, and special circumstances with those of other jails across the United States. It provides representative data to federal, state, and local policymakers. Data from past surveys have been used by Congress to monitor trends, develop legislation, and assess the legislative impact of law enforcement initiatives.

Who participates and when will the SILJ begin? 

More information is coming soon. Check this webpage for updates and sign up for JUSTSTATS to stay up-to-date.

How can I find out more about the SILJ 2024-2025?

Email [email protected] and include “SILJ2024” in the email subject line. To learn more about the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, see the data collection page.

Date Published: March 15, 2024