Annual Survey of Jails: Jail-Level Data, 2008 (ICPSR 28281)

Published: May 10, 2011

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


Version V1

ASJ 2008

The Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ) is the only data collection effort that provides an annual source of data on local jails and jail inmates. Data on the size of the jail population and selected inmate characteristics are obtained every five to six years from the Census of Jails. In each of the years between the full censuses, a sample survey of jails is conducted to estimate baseline characteristics of the nation's jails and inmates housed in these jails. The 2008 Annual Survey of Jails is the 21st such survey in a series begun in 1982. The ASJ supplies data on characteristics of jails such as admissions and releases, growth in the number of jail facilities, changes in their rated capacities and level of occupancy, growth in the population supervised in the community, changes in methods of community supervision, and crowding issues. The ASJ also provides information on changes in the demographics of the jail population, supervision status of persons held, and a count of non-citizens in custody. The data presented in this study were collected in the Annual Survey of Jails, 2008. These data are used to track growth in the number of jails and the capacities nationally, changes in the demographics of the jail population and supervision status of persons held, the prevalence of crowding issues, and a count of non-United States citizens within the jail population. The data are intended for a variety of users, including federal and state agencies, local officials in conjunction with jail administrators, researchers, planners, and the public. The reference date for the survey is June 30, 2008.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Annual Survey of Jails: Jail-Level Data, 2008. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-05-10.

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

city and county

2007-07-01 -- 2008-06-30

2008-06 -- 2008-11

Based on information from the 2005 Census of Jails, a sample of individual jail reporting units was selected for the 2008 survey. The sample included public and private jails in 875 selected jail jurisdictions. A stratified random sample of county or city jurisdictions was stratified by average daily population (ADP) as reported by the 2005 Census of Jails. Large jails and regional jails were included in the sample with certainty.

All sampled jail jurisdictions (i.e., counties, municipalities, boroughs, etc.) identified through from the 2005 Census of Jail Inmates.

jail facilities

survey data

mail questionnaire

web-based survey

The response rate for the survey was 100 percent for the following critical data items: confined persons (CONFPOP), number of adult male and adult female inmates (ADMALE, ADFEML), average daily population (ADP), and total rated capacity of jails (RATCAP). Extensive follow-up, including additional mail and fax requests and repeated telephone contacts, resulted in a nearly 100 percent response rate for the number of juvenile male and juvenile female inmates (JUVMALE, JUVFEML), and for the number of male and female inmates by conviction status (CONVMALE, CONVFML, UNCONVML, UNCONVFM), and around 95 percent for the number of inmates by race and Hispanic origin (WHITE, BLACK, HISP, AMINDALK, ASIAN, HAWPAC, TWORACE). The response rate for data on admissions to and releases from jail was nearly 90 percent.



2011-05-10 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:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • 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.

NACJD logo

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.