U.S. flag

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

Indian Country Justice Statistics

Public Law 83-280 (commonly referred to as Public Law 280 or P.L. 280)

Establishes criminal justice responsibilities among American Indian tribes with tribal land, the states in which tribes are located, and the federal government. Public Law 280 is mandatory or optional for 204 tribes, about two-thirds of the total in the lower 48 states. In states where P.L. 280 does not apply, the federal government retains criminal jurisdiction for major crimes committed under the Indian Country Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. § 1152), the Indian Country Major Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. § 1153), and the Assimilative Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. § 13).

Criminal jurisdiction in tribal areas

Jurisdiction over offenses in Indian country may lie with federal, state, or tribal agencies, depending on the particular offense, offender, victim, and offense location. For more information on tribal jurisdiction, see State Prosecutors' Offices with Jurisdiction in Indian Country, 2007, Tribal Law Enforcement, 2008, Census of Tribal Justice Agencies in Indian Country, 2002, and Jails in Indian Country, 2017-2018.

Indian country jails

Indian country adult and juvenile detention centers, jails, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Automated Tags

Indian country

Statutory term that includes all lands within an Indian reservation, dependent Indian communities, and Indian trust allotments (18 U.S.C. § 1151). Courts interpret section 1151 to include all lands held in trust for tribes or their members. See United States v. Roberts, 185 F.3d 1125 (10th Cir. 1999). Tribal authority to imprison American Indian offenders is limited to one year per offense by statute (25 U.S.C. § 1302), a $5,000 fine, or both.

Survey of Jails in Indian Country (SJIC)

Collects detailed information on confinement facilities, detention centers, jails, and other facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Information is gathered on inmate counts, movements, facility operations, and staff. In selected years (1998, 2004, 2007, and 2011), additional information was collected on facility programs and services, such as medical assessments and mental health screening procedures, inmate work assignments, counseling, and educational programs.

Census of Tribal Justice Agencies in American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Jurisdictions (CTJA02)

Includes data on the number of law enforcement agencies and officers; characteristics of tribal courts and their caseloads; types of available criminal sanctions; and criminal justice statistics data collection and sharing capacity. The census collected data from nearly 350 tribes in the continental U.S. and is the first comprehensive effort to identify the range of justice agencies operating in tribal jurisdictions, the services those agencies provide, and the types of information systems maintained