National Jail Census, 1999 (ICPSR 3318)

Version Date: Jul 9, 2009 View help for published

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


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The 1999 Census of Jails is the seventh in a series of data collection efforts aimed at studying the nation's locally administered jails. Previous censuses were conducted in 1970, 1972, 1978, 1983, 1988, and 1993. The 1999 census enumerated 3,365 locally administered confinement facilities that held inmates beyond arraignment and were staffed by municipal or county employees. Among these were 47 privately operated jails under contract for local governments and 42 regional jails that were operated for two or more jail authorities. In addition, the census identified 11 facilities maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons that functioned as jails. The nationwide total of the number of jails in operation on June 30, 1999, was 3,376. For purposes of this data collection, a local jail was defined as a locally operated adult detention facility that receives individuals pending arraignment and holds them awaiting trial, conviction, or sentencing, readmits probation, parole, and bail-bond violators and absconders, temporarily detains juveniles pending transfer to juvenile authorities, holds mentally ill persons pending their movement to appropriate health facilities, holds individuals for the military, for protective custody, for contempt, and for the courts as witnesses, releases convicted inmates to the community upon completion of sentence, transfers inmates to federal, state, or other authorities, houses inmates for federal, state, or other authorities because of crowding of their facilities, relinquishes custody of temporary detainees to juvenile and medical authorities, operates community-based programs with day-reporting, home detention, electronic monitoring, or other types of supervision, and holds inmates sentenced to short terms. Variables include information on jail population by legal status, age and sex of prisoners, maximum sentence, admissions and releases, available services and programs, structure and capacity, facility age and use of space, expenditure, employment, staff information, and health issues, which include statistics on drugs, AIDS, and tuberculosis.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Jail Census, 1999. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-07-09.

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

Access to these BJS-sponsored data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a NACJD Restricted Data Use Agreement available from the ResearchDataGov website, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Restricted Data Use Agreements available on the NACJD website are provided for reference only. Please visit the ResearchDataGov website to download the appropriate Restricted Data Use Agreement and submit your request. Once approved, data may be accessed from a requester secure site via ICPSR's secure download procedures.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1998-07-01 -- 1999-06-30

All locally administered jails in the United States.

official records



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • United States Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Jail Census, 1999. ICPSR03318-v3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-07-09.

2009-07-09 Data modifications for disclosure risk have been made. The following variables were masked using -1 as the code and "Masked" as the value label: V333 MALE ILLNESS/NATURAL CAUSES, V335 FEMALE ILLNESS/NATURAL CAUSES, V337 MALE AIDS, V339 FEMALE AIDS, V341 MALE SUICIDE, V343 FEMALE SUICIDE,V345 MALE HOMICIDE BY OTHER INMATE,V347 FEMALE HOMICIDE BY OTHER INMATE, V349 MALE OTHER HOMICIDE,V351 FEMALE OTHER HOMICIDE, V354 MALE OTHER CAUSES OF INMATE DEATH, and V356 FEMALE OTHER CAUSES OF INMATE DEATH. The following variable was masked using MASKED as the value: V353 OTHER CAUSES OF INMATE DEATH SPECIFY. The following variables were masked by assigning a blank (" ") for all cases: V16p NAME OF THE ENTITY THAT OWNS THIS FACILI and V17p NAME OF THE ENTITY THAT OPERATES THIS FA.

2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

2003-12-02 The principal investigator supplied a revised dataset, which was fully processed and released as the second edition of the collection. Corresponding changes were made to the codebook and data definition statements.

2002-08-16 The first part of Appendix A, a statistical program, was deleted from the codebook.

2002-06-07 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.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • 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.

  • 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.

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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.