Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities, 1990 (ICPSR 9908)

Version Date: Dec 21, 2001 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 V2

Slide tabs to view more

This census is the fourth enumeration of state adult correctional institutions and the first of federal institutions sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and conducted by the Bureau of the Census. Earlier censuses were completed in 1974 (ICPSR 7811), 1979 (ICPSR 7852), and 1984 (ICPSR 8444). Separate questionnaires were devised for confinement facilities and for community-based facilities. Variables describing the facilities include physical security, age, functions, capacity, confinement space, available medical facilities, programs, inmate/resident work assignments, staff employment, facilities under court order/consent decree for conditions of confinement, capital and operating expenditures, custody level of inmates/residents, one-day count and average daily population, race/ethnicity of inmates/residents, inmate/resident deaths, special inmate/resident counts, and assaults and incidents by inmates. An addendum on drug control activities in state and federal facilities was included for the first time in the 1990 census. Facilities were asked to provide information on the following: procedures used with inmates/residents, visitors, and staff to keep out illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia, inmate/resident drug-testing practices, including the criteria for testing inmates/residents, the number of inmates/residents tested in total and by specific drug, and the number that tested positive, staff drug testing, including groups and basis for testing, number tested, and procedures when tests were positive, and capacity and enrollment in various types of drug treatment and intervention programs.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities, 1990  . Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001-12-21. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09908.v2

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote
United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

  1. When all prisons in the census did not provide data on particular variables, estimated figures were used where indicated. Total figures were estimated by multiplying the known or reported numbers by the ratio of the total relevant population to the reported population. All figures were estimated independently and total estimates were therefore larger than the sum of all subgroup estimates. The total population figure used in the projections varied, depending upon which figure was most appropriate. The two available population figures are the average daily population and the prison count on the reference day for the census--June 29, 1990. For drug testing, the basis for estimation was the average daily population, and for drug treatment capacity and enrollment, the basis was the one-day count. (2) The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Data were collected from 957 state prison facilities, 250 state community-based facilities, and 80 federal prisons operating on June 29, 1990.

The facility universe was developed from the Census of State Adult Correctional Facilities conducted in 1984. This list was revised using the 1990 American Correctional Association Directory and information obtained from state correctional administrators and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The census included prisons, prison farms, reception, diagnostic, and classification centers, road camps, forestry and conservation camps, youthful offender facilities (except in California), vocational training facilities, correctional drug and alcohol treatment facilities, and state-operated local detention facilities in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

self-enumerated questionnaires



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. Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities, 1990 . ICPSR09908-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09908.v2

2001-12-21 The SPSS data definition statements were edited to include a file handle statement, and the codebook was converted to Portable Document Format (PDF).

1993-10-31 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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • 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.

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.