Annual Survey of Jails, 2014 (ICPSR 36274)

Published: Oct 12, 2015

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


Version V1

ASJ 2014

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 complete censuses, a sample survey of jails is conducted to estimate baseline characteristics of the nation's jails and inmates housed in these jails. The 2014 Annual Survey of Jails is the 27th 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.

Starting in 2010, BJS enhanced the ASJ survey instruments to address topics on the number of convicted inmates that are unsentenced or sentenced and the number of unconvicted inmates awaiting trial/arraignment, or transfers/holds for other authorities. In order to reduce respondent burden, the ASJ no longer collects data on conviction status by sex. Also new to the survey, data are collected on jails' operational capacity and design capacity. Incorporating enhanced capacity measurements enables BJS to describe more accurately the variation and volatility of inmate bed space and crowding, especially as they relate to safety and security in jails.

To address more directly issues related to overcrowding and safety and security in jails, BJS started collecting data on staff and assaults against staff from the largest jails. In the modifications to the ASJ, starting in 2010, 335 jail jurisdictions (370 respondents) included with certainty in the ASJ sample survey were asked to provide additional information (forms CJ-5D or CJ-5DA) on the flow of inmates going through jails and the distribution of time served, staff characteristics and assaults on staff resulting in death, and inmate misconduct.

The data presented in this study were collected in the Annual Survey of Jails, 2014. 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, 2014.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Annual Survey of Jails, 2014. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-10-12.

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

city and county

2013-07-01 -- 2014-06-30

2014-06 -- 2014-12

In years between the complete census of local jails, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) conducts the Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ). ASJ uses a stratified probability sample of jail jurisdictions to estimate the number and characteristics of local inmates nationwide. The 2014 ASJ sample consisted of 891 jail jurisdictions, represented by 942 jail facilities (referred to as reporting units). This sample represents about 2,750 jail jurisdictions nationwide. Local jail jurisdictions include counties (parishes in Louisiana) or municipal governments that administer one or more local jails.

The 2014 ASJ differed from the 2006-2012 ASJ's, as the 2013 ASJ included in the sample with a probability of one all California jail jurisdictions in response to the two enacted laws -- AB 109 and AB 117 by the California State Legislature and governor -- to reduce the number of inmates housed in state prisons starting October 1, 2011. The inclusion of all California jail jurisdictions resulted in an additional 21 jail jurisdictions (for a total sample size of 891 jurisdictions).

Since the enactment of the two laws in recent years, the California jail population has experienced changes in size that cannot be compared to the changes of any other state in the United States. For this reason, the California jail jurisdictions were put in separate strata so that they could represent only California jurisdictions.

In the sampling design, the jail jurisdictions nationwide were grouped into 10 strata. The 10 strata were defined by the interaction of two variables: the jail jurisdiction average daily population (ADP) in 2005, and whether in 2005 the jurisdiction held at least one juvenile. For 8 of the 10 strata, a random sample of jail jurisdictions was selected. For the remaining two strata, all jurisdictions were included in the sample. One stratum consisted of all jails (70) that were operated jointly by two or more jurisdictions (referred to as multi-jurisdictional jails). The other stratum (referred to as certainty stratum consisted of all jail jurisdictions (267) that:

  • held juvenile inmates at the time of the 2005 Census of Jail Inmates and had an average daily population (ADP) of 500 or more inmates during the 12 months ending June 30, 2005.
  • held only adult inmates and had an ADP of 750 or more.

Certainty jails jurisdiction in the survey received forms CJ-5D (Certainty Jurisdictions-Central data reporter) or CJ-5DA (Multi-Jurisdiction facilities and privately operated facilities in jurisdictions included with certainty in the Annual Survey of Jails). Randomly sampled jail jurisdictions received forms CJ-5 (County/City operated) or CJ-5A (Private Facilities operating for County/City jail jurisdictions). The same sampling design was adopted for the California jurisdictions.


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

jail facilities

survey data

web-based survey



2015-10-12 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.