Census of Jails, 2013 (ICPSR 36128)

Version Date: Mar 25, 2016 View help for published

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



Version V3 ()

  • V4 [2018-04-25]
  • V3 [2016-03-25] unpublished

This version of the data collection is no longer distributed by ICPSR.

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.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census of Jails, 2013. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-03-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36128.v3

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

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.

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

official records


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

2015-12-08 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.