National Inmate Survey, 2008-2009 (ICPSR 34510)
Alternate Title: NIS-2
Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
The National Inmate Survey, 2008-2009 (NIS-2) was conducted in 167 state and federal prisons between October 13, 2008, and March 11, 2009; 286 jails between January 20, 2009, and August 13, 2009; and 10 special (military, Indian country, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)) facilities between May 11, 2009, and December 17, 2009. The data were collected by RTI International under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The NIS-2 comprised two questionnaires -- a survey of sexual victimization and a survey of past drug and alcohol use and treatment. Inmates were randomly assigned to receive one of the questionnaires so that at the time of the interview the content of the survey remained unknown to facility staff and the interviewers. A total of 81,566 inmates participated in the survey, including 32,029 inmates in state and federal prisons, 48,066 inmates in jails, 399 inmates in military facilities, 115 inmates in Indian country jails, and 957 inmates in facilities operated by ICE.
The respondents were asked about the type of sexual contact, the frequency, when it occurred, and where it occurred. The survey also sought information on any injuries received and the treatment obtained for those injuries. Other questions pertained to the reporting of sexual contact -- if it was reported, to whom it was reported, and any results from reporting sexual contact. Respondents were also asked for reasons why they had not reported the sexual contact if no report was made. Background and demographic information collected includes reasons for incarceration, sexual history, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, ethnicity, and physical characteristics such as height and weight.
Due to the sensitive nature of the data and to protect respondent confidentiality, the data are restricted from general dissemination. Users interested in utilizing these data must complete an Application for Use of ICPSR Data Enclave. Information on the use of the ICPSR Data Enclave and the application for use can be found at ICPSR Data Enclave. Researchers can also download a copy of the Application for Use of ICPSR Data Enclave as a Portable Document (PDF) file from the download page associated with this dataset. Completed forms should be returned to: Director, National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Institute for Social Research, P.O. Box 1248, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, or by fax: 734-647-8200.
Any 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.
United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Inmate Survey, 2008-2009. ICPSR34510-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-01-15. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34510.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34510.v1
Scope of Study
Geographic Coverage: United States
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual
Universe: Part I: Inmates in local jails and in special confinement facilities (Indian country, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities) in the United States. Part II: Inmates in state and federal adult confinement facilities (including military facilities).
Data Types: survey data
Data Collection Notes:
Modifications to the National Inmate Survey Data to Reduce Disclosure Risk
Four methods were applied to the National Inmate Survey (NIS-2) jail and prison data prior to being supplied to NACJD:
- Direct respondent identifiers removed from the data
- Recoding (the process of collapsing detailed levels of a variable into coarser categories)
- Variable suppression (a method that removes sensitive variables from the data)
- Perturbation (protect against someone with detailed knowledge about a respondent identifying that respondent with certainty)
As another method to address disclosure risk, the final analysis weight variable present in the data was specified at a level that incorporated all stages of selection and all nonresponse and post-stratification adjustments. Intermediate weights or adjustment factors were not included.
The following steps were taken to reduce disclosure risk:
1. Remove obvious identifiers
Personally identifying information were removed from the data. These included:
- Inmate identification number at the facility
- Name of inmate
- Housing unit of inmate
- Date of birth of inmate
- Sentence status of inmate
- Date inmate was admitted to the facility
- Ethnicity of inmate
- Race of inmate
- Sentence length of inmate
- Arraignment status of inmate
Institutional identifiers were replaced by new unique (sequentially-assigned) facility, inmate, and paper-and-pencil instrument (PAPI) record identifiers. However, some items on the questionnaire requested the inmate to self-report information similar to the above items. This information was retained, when possible.
2. Recoding into intervals or rounding
Continuous values were recoded into categories for the following variables and the original variables were removed:
- CAT_AGE - Age Category
- CAT_ADMISSION - Time Since Admission
- HEIGHT_FEMALE - Female Hgt
- HEIGHT_MALE - Male Hgt
- CAT_WEIGHT - Weight Category
- SENTENCELENGTH_JAIL - Jail Sentence Lengths
- SENTENCELENGTH_PRISON - Prison Sentence Lengths
- TIME_TO_RELEASE - Expected Release Date
- TIME_INCARCERATED - Time Incarcerated
3. Deletion or masking
For prisons, 815 variables were "recoded" or suppressed (355 recoded; 460 suppressed - 228 of which corresponded only to the drug and alcohol survey that was administered to a random 5 percent of the inmates). For jails, 817 variables were "recoded" or suppressed (356 recoded; 461 suppressed - 228 of which corresponded only to the drug and alcohol survey that was administered to a random 5 percent of the inmates). Recoded variables were "recoded into" new variables, and the original variables were deleted from the final data sent. The cases from the drug and alcohol survey were not included in the file sent to ICPSR.
Perturbation was the main treatment mechanism to decrease the risk of disclosure. For confidentiality reasons, details on the perturbation methods used (e.g., swapping, adding noise, and blurring), information on the number of inmate records that received perturbation, and information on the set of variables perturbed have not been disclosed.
Perturbation changed the values of selected survey participant's responses via a random process. The perturbation process was designed to ensure that the changes were appropriately applied and did not result in large changes to key estimates. The perturbation was done so that when the treated data were compared to the untreated data, aggregate unweighted estimates were unchanged and weighted estimates were minimally different.
As a result of the perturbation procedures, identification of respondents with certainty based on individual records is no longer feasible.
Study Purpose: The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79) requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to carry out a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape for each calendar year.
The interviews, which averaged 25 minutes in length, used computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) and audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) data collection methods. For approximately the first two minutes, survey interviewers conducted a personal interview using CAPI to obtain background information and date of admission to the facility. For the remainder of the interview, respondents interacted with a computer-administered questionnaire using a touch-screen and synchronized audio instructions delivered via headphones. Respondents completed the ACASI portion of the interview in private, with the interviewer either leaving the room or moving away from the computer.
A shorter paper questionnaire was made available for inmates who were unable to come to the private interviewing room or interact with the computer. The paper form was completed by 496 prison inmates (or 1.5 percent of all prison interviews), 226 jail inmates (0.5 percent), and 4 military inmates (1 percent). Most of these inmates were housed in administrative or disciplinary segregation or were considered too violent to be interviewed. No inmates in Indian country or ICE facilities completed the paper questionnaire.
Before the interview, inmates were informed verbally and in writing that participation was voluntary and that all information provided would be held in confidence. Interviews were conducted in either English (98 percent in prisons, 95 percent in jails, 40 percent in ICE facilities, and 100 percent in military and Indian country facilities) or Spanish (2 percent in prisons, 5 percent in jails, and 60 percent in ICE facilities).
Part I (Jails and Special Confinement Facilities)
Selection of jail facilities
A sample of 320 jails was drawn to represent approximately 10 percent of the 3,007 jail facilities identified in the Census of Jail Inmates, 2005. The 2005 census was a complete enumeration of all jail jurisdictions, including all publicly operated and privately operated facilities under contract to jail authorities. The NIS-2 was restricted to jails that had five or more inmates on June 30, 2005. Based on estimates from the Annual Survey of Jails, 2008, these jails held an estimated 777,200 inmates age 18 or older on June 30, 2008.
Jail facilities were sequentially sampled with probabilities of selection proportionate to size (as measured by the number of inmates held on June 30, 2005). Eight facilities that were unable to participate in NIS-1 were selected with certainty, while the measures of size of facilities that participated in NIS-1 were reduced to give them a lower probability of selection. The remaining facilities were stratified such that facilities in each of the 10 largest jail jurisdictions were placed into strata; all other facilities were placed in a single stratum. Within the large jurisdiction stratum, three facilities were selected from the five largest jurisdictions with probability proportionate to size, and two facilities were selected from the next five largest jurisdictions with probability proportion to size. Facilities in the second stratum were first sorted by region, state, and public or private operation. Facilities were sampled to ensure that at least one jail facility in every state was selected. The remaining jail facilities were selected from each region with probabilities proportionate to size.
Of the 320 selected jails in NIS-2, 10 facilities refused to participate:
- Baldwin Co. Corrections Center (AL)
- Marengo Co. Detention Center (AL)
- Merced Co. Jail (CA)
- Columbia Co. Detention Center (FL)
- Pike Co. Law Enforcement Center (IN)
- Flathead Co. Detention Center (MT)
- Rutherford Co. Jail (NC)
- Monmouth Co. Correctional Institution (NJ)
- Hildalgo Co. Detention Center (TX)
- Kenosha Co. Jail (WI)
Nine facilities were unable to participate due to lack of space, staffing shortages, or construction, but expect to be included in NIS-3 (to be conducted in 2011). Fifteen facilities were determined to be ineligible: seven had closed, four were community-based facilities, two had fewer than five inmates, and two were prisons. All other selected jail facilities participated fully in the survey.
Selection of inmates within jails
The number of inmates sampled in each facility varied based on six criteria:
- an expected prevalence rate of sexual victimization of 3 percent.
- a desired level of precision based on a standard error of 1.4 percent.
- a projected 65 percent response rate among selected inmates.
- a 5 percent chance among participating inmates of not receiving the sexual victimization questionnaire.
- an adjustment factor of 1.75 to account for the complex survey design.
- a pre-arraignment adjustment factor equal to 1 in facilities where the status was known for all inmates and less than 1 in facilities where only the overall proportion of inmates who were pre-arraigned was known.
A roster of inmates was obtained just prior to the start of interviewing at each facility. Inmates under age 18 and inmates who had not been arraigned were removed from the roster. Each eligible inmate was assigned a random number and sorted in ascending order. Inmates were selected from the list up to the expected number of inmates determined by the sampling criteria. Due to the dynamic nature of jail populations, a second roster of inmates was obtained on the first day of data collection. Eligible inmates who appeared on the second roster but who had not appeared on the initial roster were identified. These inmates had been arraigned since the initial roster was created or were newly admitted to the facility and arraigned. A random sample of these new inmates was chosen using the same probability of selection used to sample from the first roster.
A total of 81,306 jail inmates was selected. After selection, an additional 9,490 ineligible inmates were excluded -- 7,844 (9.7 percent) were released or transferred to another facility before interviewing began, 455 (0.6 percent) were mentally or physically unable to be interviewed, 144 (0.2 percent) were under age 18 or their age could not be obtained during the interview process, 308 (0.4 percent) were selected in error (i.e., an inmate was incorrectly listed on the facility roster), and 739 (0.9 percent) were on unsupervised work release or only served time on weekends.
Of all selected inmates, 17 percent refused to participate in the survey, 4 percent were not available to be interviewed (e.g., in court, in medical segregation, determined by the facility to be too violent to be interviewed, or restricted from participation by another legal jurisdiction), and 8 percent were not interviewed due to survey logistics (e.g., language barriers, releases, and transfers to another facility after interviewing began).
Overall, 48,066 jail inmates participated in the survey, yielding a response rate of 68 percent. Approximately 95 percent of the participating inmates (45,126) received the sexual assault survey.
Selection of special confinement facilities
A sample of 11 special facilities was drawn to represent the inmate populations in military, Indian country, and ICE facilities. Three military, three Indian country, and five ICE facilities were included. The selected military facilities were the largest Army, Navy, and Marine facilities, including the United States Disciplinary Barracks (Leavenworth, KS), the Naval Consolidated Brig. (Miramar, CA), and the Marine Corps Base Brig. (Camp Pendleton, CA).
The selected Indian country facilities were the three largest facilities identified in the 2007 Survey of Jails in Indian Country. One facility, Tohono O'odham Detention Center (AZ) was undergoing major renovations to accommodate increased capacity and could not participate in the survey during the data collection period. This facility will be included in the NIS-3 data collection. The Navajo Department of Corrections Window Rock (AZ), participated in the survey but held fewer inmates in 2009 (14) than reported in the 2007 survey (99).
The 5 ICE facilities were sequentially sampled from the 22 facilities run by ICE with probabilities of selection proportionate to size (as measured by the number of persons held at year-end 2008). Facilities were sorted by region and state.
Selection of inmates in special confinement facilities
For purposes of inmate selection, military facilities were treated as prisons, and Indian country and ICE facilities were treated like jails. The assumptions used to determine the sample size within a prison or jail and the corresponding selection procedures were used. However, in ICE facilities, a second sample of newly admitted inmates was not drawn due to an inability to identify new inmates on the ICE rosters. In addition, inmates in ICE facilities who did not speak English or Spanish were defined as ineligible for the study.
Overall, 2,494 inmates were selected, including 546 in military facilities, 161 in Indian country facilities, and 1,787 in ICE facilities. After selection, 409 ineligible inmates were excluded -- 225 (9 percent) were released or transferred to another facility before interviewing began, 10 (0.4 percent) were mentally or physically unable to be interviewed, 4 (0.2 percent) were on unsupervised work release, and 170 (7 percent) in ICE facilities did not speak English or Spanish. A total of 16 inmates were excluded in military facilities, 15 in Indian country facilities, and 378 in ICE facilities.
Of all selected inmates in special facilities, 16 percent refused to participate in the survey, 0.2 percent were not available to be interviewed (e.g., in court, in medical segregation, determined by the facility to be too violent to be interviewed, or restricted from participation by another legal jurisdiction), and 7 percent were not interviewed due to survey logistics (e.g., language barriers, releases, and transfers to another facility after interviewing began).
Overall, 1,471 inmates participated in the survey (399 30 August 2010 in military, 115 in Indian country, and 957 in ICE facilities), yielding a response rate of 71 percent (75 percent in military, 79 percent in Indian country, and 68 percent in ICE facilities). Approximately 95 percent of the participating inmates (1,379) received the sexual assault survey (379 in military, 107 in Indian country, and 893 in ICE facilities).
Part II (State and Federal Prisons)
Selection of state and federal prisons
A sample of 171 state and federal prisons was drawn to produce a sample representing approximately 10 percent of the 1,260 state and 192 federal adult confinement facilities identified in the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities. The 2005 census was a complete enumeration of state prisons, including all publicly operated and privately operated facilities under contract to state correctional authorities. The NIS-2 was restricted to confinement facilities -- institutions in which fewer than 50 percent of the inmates were regularly permitted to leave, unaccompanied by staff, for work, study, or treatment. Such facilities included prisons, penitentiaries, prison hospitals, prison farms, boot camps, and centers for reception, classification, or alcohol and drug treatment. The NIS-2 excluded community-based facilities, such as halfway houses, group homes, and work release centers. Based on estimates from 2008 National Prisoner Statistics, the prisons in the study universe held an estimated 1,267,400 state and 190,300 federal inmates age 18 or older on June 30, 2008.
State and federal confinement facilities were sequentially sampled with probabilities of selection proportionate to size (as measured by the number of inmates held in state prisons on December 30, 2005, and in federal prisons on September 28, 2006). Facilities on the sampling frame were stratified by gender of inmates housed. The measures of size for facilities that participated in NIS-1 in 2007 were reduced to lower their probability of selection in NIS-2. Within each stratum, facilities on the sampling frame were first sorted by region, state, and public or private operation. The sample size for facilities housing only female inmates was set to 36 facilities to ensure a sufficient number of women and allow for meaningful analyses of sexual victimization by gender. Facilities were sampled ensuring that at least one facility in every state was selected. Federal facilities were grouped together and treated like a state for sampling purposes. The remaining facilities were selected from each region with probabilities proportionate to size.
Of the 171 selected prison facilities, 4 were deemed ineligible and excluded from the survey for the following reasons:
- Albion Correctional Facility (NY) -- Ongoing litigation.
- Robert Scott Correctional Facility (MI) -- Ongoing litigation.
- Dinwiddie Correctional Unit (VA) -- Closed prior to the start of data collection.
- Waseca FCI (BOP) -- Transitioned from holding males to females during the data collection period (treated as a closed facility).
All other selected prison facilities participated fully in the survey.
Selection of inmates within prisons
The number of inmates sampled in each facility varied based on six criteria:
- an expected sexual victimization prevalence rate of 4 percent;
- a desired level of precision based on a standard error of 1.75 percent;
- a projected 70 percent response rate among selected inmates;
- a 5 percent chance among participating inmates of not receiving the sexual victimization questionnaire.
- an adjustment factor of 1.75 to account for the complex survey design;
- the size of the facility.
A roster of inmates was obtained just prior to the start of interviewing at each facility. Inmates under age 18 and inmates expected to be released prior to data collection were deleted from the roster. Each eligible inmate was assigned a random number and sorted in ascending order. Inmates were selected from the list up to the expected number of inmates determined by the sampling criteria.
A total of 46,189 prison inmates were selected. After selection, 1,302 ineligible inmates were excluded -- 936 (2 percent) were released or transferred to another facility before interviewing began, 246 (0.5 percent) were mentally or physically unable to be interviewed, 13 (0.02 percent) were under age 18 or their age could not be obtained during the interview process, 11 (0.02 percent) were selected in error (i.e., an inmate was incorrectly listed on the facility roster), and 96 (0.2 percent) were on unsupervised work release or only served time on weekends.
Of all selected eligible prison inmates, 23 percent refused to participate in the survey, 2 percent were not available to be interviewed (e.g., in court, in medical segregation, determined by the facility to be too violent to be interviewed, or restricted from participation by another legal jurisdiction), and 2 percent were not interviewed due to survey logistics (e.g., language barriers, releases, or transfers to another facility after interviewing began).
Overall, 32,029 prison inmates participated in the survey, yielding a response rate of 71 percent. Approximately 95 percent of the participating inmates (29,954) received the sexual assault survey.
Responses from interviewed inmates were weighted to provide national-level and facility-level estimates. Each interviewed inmate was assigned an initial weight corresponding to the inverse of the probability of selection within each sampled facility. A series of adjustment factors was applied to the initial weight to minimize potential bias due to non-response and to provide national estimates.
Bias occurs when the estimated prevalence is different from the actual prevalence for a given facility. In each facility, bias could result if the random sample of inmates did not accurately represent the facility population. Bias could also result if the non-respondents were different from the respondents. Post-stratification and non-response adjustments were made to the data to compensate for these two possibilities. These adjustments included:
1. Calibration of the weights of the responding inmates within each facility so that the estimates accurately reflected the facility's entire population in terms of known demographic characteristics. These characteristics included distributions by inmate age, sex, race, time since admission, and sentence length. This adjustment ensures that the estimates better reflect the entire population of the facility and not just the inmates who were randomly sampled.
2. Calibration of the weights so that the weight from a non-responding inmate is assigned to a responding inmate with similar demographic characteristics. This adjustment ensures that the estimates accurately reflect the full sample, rather than only the inmates who responded.
For each inmate, these adjustments were based on a generalized exponential model, developed by Folsom and Singh, and applied to the sexual assault survey respondents.
A final ratio adjustment to each inmate weight was made to provide national-level estimates for the total number of inmates ages 18 or older who were held at mid-year 2008. These ratios represented the estimated number of inmates by sex (from BJS's 2008 Annual Survey of Jails and 2008 National Prisoner Statistics, Midyear) divided by the number of inmates by sex in the NIS-2 after calibration for sampling and non-response. The national estimates for state prisons were 1,178,916 males and 88,518 females; for federal prisons, 178,153 males and 12,120 females; and for jails (with an average daily population of 6 or more inmates), 678,136 males and 99,096 females.
Final ratio adjustments were not applied to inmate weights in military, Indian country, and ICE facilities. Estimates for special confinement facilities were made at the facility level only.
Mode of Data Collection: audio computer-assisted self interview (ACASI), computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), paper and pencil interview (PAPI)
National Inmate Survey (NIS-2)
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:
- Performed consistency checks.
- Created variable labels and/or value labels.
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2014-01-15
- Citations exports are provided above.
Export Study-level metadata (does not include variable-level metadata)
If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.