National Inmate Survey (NIS) - Jails: Full Survey Respondents, [United States], 2007-2009 (ICPSR 37011)

Version Date: Sep 10, 2018 View help for published

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United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics


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NIS Jails: Full, 2007-2009

The National Inmate Survey (NIS) is part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) National Prison Rape Statistics Program, which gathers mandated data on the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault in correctional facilities under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108- 79). Inmates are randomly assigned to receive either a survey of sexual victimization or a survey of mental and physical health, past drug and alcohol use, and treatment for substance abuse. About 92 percent of the respondents completed modules through the survey of sexual victimization while the other eight percent completed modules through the alternative survey. However, the data in this study focuses solely upon substance use and treatment. No respondent answered questions about sexual victimization.

The same eight percent of respondents (n=6,577) who completed the alternative survey are the same 6,577 respondents from the study National Inmate Survey (NIS) - Jails: Alternative Survey Respondents Only, [United States], 2007-2009 (ICPSR 37010).

United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Inmate Survey (NIS) - Jails: Full Survey Respondents, [United States], 2007-2009 . Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-09-10.

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

Due to the sensitive nature of the data and to protect respondent confidentiality, the data are restricted from general dissemination. These data are enclave-only and may only be accessed at ICPSR's location in Ann Arbor, MI. Users wishing to view these data must first contact NACJD, complete an Application for use of the ICPSR Data Enclave (available as part of the documentation for this study), and receive permission to analyze the files before traveling to Ann Arbor. More information may be found at ICPSR's Enclave Data Web site. 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.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2007 -- 2009
2007-04 -- 2007-08 (NIS-1), 2008-10 -- 2009-12 (NIS-2)
For further information please visit the Bureau of Justice Statistics website on the National Inmate Survey (NIS).

Data was collected by RTI International under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

Variable names in the data file are based off the question numbering from the 2008-2009 NIS-2 survey. Similar questions exist in the 2007 NIS-1 survey, but some will be associated with a different number in the survey.

The PDF codebook includes information provided to ICPSR by the Principal Investigator (P.I.) that provides an overview of the study's design and sampling, weighting and nonresponse adjustments, and sample code and output tables from SAS, SUDAAN, R, and Stata.

The aforementioned P.I. produced section of the codebook states that the data was to be made available in a public use file. However, after the data was deposited with ICPSR the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) instructed that access to the data be restricted. Based upon the study design and available data BJS restricted access to the data only through ICPSR's physical data enclave. Please see the included User Agreement for further information.

The last half of the data file contain derived variables computed by the P.I. based on the survey data. They are listed in alphabetical order. These derived variables offer an additional resource to assist in analyzing the data.

The purpose of the National Inmate Survey (NIS) is to gather data on inmates experiences within the state and federal judicial system. It is part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Prison Rape Statistics Program (PREA). The primary data gathered as part of this program is on the prevalence of sexual assault and rape in correctional facilities. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79) requires a 10 percent sample of correctional facilities to be listed by incidence of sexual assault, with a minimum of one prison and one jail facility in each state.

A secondary purpose is to report on substance use, alcohol use, and substance abuse treatment prior to and during incarceration. The data in this particular study focuses solely on these secondary purposes. The data file does not contain data on sexual assault and rape during the respondent's stay in jail.

Inmates are randomly assigned to receive either a survey of sexual victimization or an alternative survey. Facility staff, nor the interviewer, know which survey is randomly assigned to the inmate. Although respondents are randomly selected to one particular survey the only modules that respondents were asked to complete for this study were on the topics of past drug use, alcohol use, and treatment for substance abuse.

The survey typically takes an inmate 27 minutes to complete. If the respondent is not done at 30 minutes, then he or she is not allowed to start a new survey section. The interviewer began the survey using the computer asking for basic background information. The remainder of the interview was conducted in private where the inmate interacted with a computer administered questionnaire using a touchscreen and synchronized audio instructions delivered via headphones. The interviewer either left the room or moved away from the computer while the inmate completed the interview.

The NIS-1, conducted between April and August 2007, randomly selected 282 jails nationally. Then between October 2008 and December 2009 the NIS-2 randomly selected 286 jails. There was a total of 156,019 inmates selected during the two distinct waves of data collection. A total of 93,480 ended up participating in the survey. Of that total, 79,973 completed the drug, alcohol, and treatment modules.

Please refer to the codebook for details about the study sampling provided by the Principal Investigator.


Inmates age 18 or older held in a local jail.

survey data

Questions from the NIS-1 and NIS-2 included in this data file are from five of the sections of the larger questionnaire:

  • Section A: Inmate Demographics - race, ethnicity, education, relationship status, sexual history, sexual orientation
  • Section J: Drug Use - use details of 15 drug types, consequences of use
  • Section H: Alcohol Use - use details of alcohol, consequences of use
  • Section K: Treatment - types of treatment attended, history of visits
  • Section M: Interview Debriefing Items - interviewer's assessment of respondents effort, understanding, and experience during the interview

The last half of the data file are derived variables created by the Principal Investigator.

  • 72 percent for NIS-1
  • 71 percent for NIS-2


2018-09-10 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:

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

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 nonresponse and to provide national estimates. The data file contains the final weight variable WT_FINAL and 30 replicate weights (REPWT##). Please refer to the codebook for details about the creation and adjustment of the weights provided by the Principal Investigator.


  • 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.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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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.