Corrections refers to the supervision of persons arrested for, convicted of, or sentenced for criminal offenses. Correctional populations fall into two general categories: institutional corrections and community corrections. Corrections data, with a few exceptions, covers adult agencies or facilities and adult offenders.
BJS maintains over 30 corrections-related data collections. Most are annual collections of administrative data from correctional administrators, ranging from basic population counts and offender demographic characteristics to facility capacity, programs, staff, and resources. These data collections include—
- National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) Program - administrative data on state and federal prisoners, collected twice a year
- Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ) - administrative data on jail populations
- Annual Probation Survey and Annual Parole Survey - administrative data on offenders under community supervision
- National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) - administrative data on admissions to and releases from state prisons, collected annually from participating state jurisdictions
- Census of Jails and Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities - administrative data on facilities and staff, collected periodically.
- Justice Expenditures and Employment Extracts (JEEE) - administrative data on federal, state, and local government expenditures and employment for corrections activities.
The NPS also collects counts on specific inmate populations from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. territories. Some limited information on the number of juveniles held in adult facilities is also collected in the NPS and the ASJ. Jails in Indian Country is a separate collection for data on counts and characteristics of persons held in tribal jails. BJS also tracks administrative data on other topics, such as HIV in correctional facilities; sexual assault in correctional facilities; and capital punishment statutes, populations, and executions.
In addition to collecting administrative data, BJS maintains a number of recurring national surveys of prison and jail inmates. These surveys are conducted periodically and use a nationally representative sample of inmates. The surveys, Survey of Prison Inmates (formerly known as the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities) and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, are broad in scope and collect a wide range of data on the personal and criminal histories of criminal offenders. Topics cover childhood experiences, family structure, educational background, prior criminal activity, substance abuse experiences, mental and physical health problems, and conditions of current confinement. Estimates derived from these surveys are national and, with rare exceptions, are not available at the state or facility level.
Jails are locally operated short-term facilities that hold inmates awaiting trial or sentencing or both, and inmates sentenced to a term of less than 1 year, typically misdemeanants. Prisons are longer-term facilities run by the state or the federal government that typically hold felons and persons with sentences of more than 1 year. Definitions may vary by state.
The National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) Program produces annual national- and state-level data on the number of prisoners in state and federal prison facilities. Findings are released in the Prisoners series and the Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool (CSAT) - Prisoners.