Annual Survey of Jails Data Series

Investigator(s): Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Annual Survey of Jails, formerly titled National Survey of Jails, is the only data collection effort that provides an annual source of data on local jails and jail inmates. The series was begun in 1982 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics with data collected by the Bureau of the Census. Local jails are locally-operated correctional facilities that confine persons before or after adjudication. Inmates sentenced to jails usually have a sentence of a year or less, but jails also incarcerate persons in a wide variety of other categories. 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 full censuses, a sample survey of jails is conducted to estimate baseline characteristics of the nation's jails and inmates housed in these jails. Data are supplied on 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 in state and federal prisons. 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.

Years Produced: Annually, except every 5th year when the National Jail Census is produced.