National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Census of Jails, 2013 (ICPSR 36128)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


To reduce respondent burden for the 2013 collection, the Census of Jails was combined with the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP). The census provides the sampling frame for the nationwide Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (SILJ) and the Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ). Previous jail enumerations were conducted in 1970 (ICPSR 7641), 1972 (ICPSR 7638), 1978 (ICPSR 7737), 1983 (ICPSR 8203), 1988 (ICPSR 9256), 1993 (ICPSR 6648), 1999 (ICPSR 3318), 2005 (ICPSR 20367), and 2006 (ICPSR 26602). The RTI International collected the data for the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2013. The United States Census Bureau was the collection agent from 1970-2006.

The 2013 Census of Jails gathered data from all jail detention facilities holding inmates beyond arraignment, a period normally exceeding 72 hours. Jail facilities were operated by cities and counties, by private entities under contract to correctional authorities, and by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Excluded from the census were physically separate temporary holding facilities such as drunk tanks and police lockups that do not hold persons after being formally charged in court. Also excluded were state-operated facilities in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Alaska, which have combined jail-prison systems. Fifteen independently operated jails in Alaska were included in the Census.

The 2013 census collected facility-level information on the number of confined and nonconfined inmates, number of inmates participating in weekend programs, number of confined non-U.S. citizens, number of confined inmates by sex and adult or juvenile status, number of juveniles held as adults, conviction and sentencing status, offense type, number of inmates held by race or Hispanic origin, number of inmates held for other jurisdictions or authorities, average daily population, rated capacity, number of admissions and releases, program participation for nonconfined inmates, operating expenditures, and staff by occupational category.

Series: National Jail Census Series

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census of Jails, 2013. ICPSR36128-v3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-03-25.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    census data, correctional facilities, correctional officers, correctional system, corrections management, demographic characteristics, inmate populations, inmate programs, inmates, jail inmates, jails, personnel

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2013

Date of Collection:   

  • 2013

Universe:    All locally, regionally, and federally administered jails in the United States.

Data Type(s):    census/enumeration data


Sample:    The respondent universe was derived from a facility list maintained by the Census Bureau for BJS, from correctional association directories, and from other secondary sources. Census forms were sent to each jail jurisdiction. In addition to a paper form, BJS offered respondents an electronic version via the internet, allowing them to complete and submit their completed questionnaires on-line.

Mode of Data Collection:    mail questionnaire, web-based survey

Data Source:

official records

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2015-12-08

Version History:

  • 2016-03-25 Two records needed to be updated.

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