Instant Criminal Reports
Jail Inmates at Midyear 2010
Between midyear 2009 and midyear 2010, the confined inmate population in county and city jails (748,728) declined by 2.4% (18,706 inmates) (figure 1 and table 1). This is the second decline in the jail population since the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) began the Annual Survey of Jails in 1982.
The first occurred between 2008 and 2009. The jail incarceration rate declined in 2010 to 242 jail inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, the lowest rate since 2003. On June 30, 2010, adults represented 99% of all jail inmates. Males accounted for 87.7%, and females accounted for 12.3% (tables 6 and 7).
At midyear whites represented 44.3% of all jail inmates, blacks represented 37.8%, and Hispanics represented 15.8%. These jail inmate distributions have remained nearly stable since midyear 2000. At midyear 2010, about 6 in 10 inmates were unconvicted offenders in jail awaiting court action on a current charge, unchanged since 2005. About 4 in 10 inmates were sentenced offenders or convicted offenders awaiting sentencing.
Population decline was mostly concentrated in large jails During the 12-month period ending June 30, 2010, the population in the largest jail jurisdictions with an average daily population of 1,000 or more inmates (based on the average daily population during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2009) declined by 18,187 inmates (table 3). This decline was offset by increases in jail jurisdictions with an average daily population between 100 and 249 inmates (up 2,471) and jail jurisdictions with an average daily population of fewer than 50 inmates (up 760).
Population declines were mostly concentrated among large jails. Declines were reported in the inmate population between midyear 2009 and midyear 2010 in two-thirds (111 jails) of the 170 jail jurisdictions with 1,000 or more inmates on an average day during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2010. About a third (57 large jails) reported an increase in their inmate population during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2010. Data were estimated for two large jail jurisdictions that did not respond to the survey in 2010, resulting in no change in their inmate population during this period. (See Methodology for a description of estimation and weighting procedures.)
Six jail jurisdictions account for nearly half of the decline in jail population Six jail jurisdictions reported a drop of more than 1,000 inmates (accounting for 46% of the decline nationwide). Los Angeles County, California, with a drop of 3,007 inmates, led the nation in overall decline in their inmate population during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2010. Five other jail jurisdictions reported a decline of more than 1,000 inmates, including Maricopa County, Arizona (1,196 inmates); Orange County, California (1,143); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1,111); Fresno County, California (1,105); and Harris County, Texas (1,096). Capacity to hold inmates continues to increase at slower rate The estimated rated capacity for all jail jurisdictions at midyear 2010 reached 866,974 beds (table 2), an increase of 2.0% (17,079 beds) from midyear 2009. This was less than the average annual increase each year since 2000 (2.5% or 22,281 beds). Rated capacity is the maximum number of beds or inmates allocated to each jail facility by a state or local rating official.
The percentage of capacity occupied at midyear 2010 (86.4%) was the lowest since 1984. Jail jurisdictions holding 50 or more inmates experienced a decline in the percent of bed space occupied between midyear 2009 (91.5%) and 2010 (87.4%) (not shown in a table). In jail jurisdictions holding fewer than 50 inmates, the jail inmate population grew slightly faster than the rated capacity. As a result, the percent of capacity occupied at midyear 2010 (63.3%) was slightly larger than in 2009 (62.2%) (table 5).
The amount of bed space occupied was also measured based on an average daily population in jail jurisdictions (748,553) in the year ending June 30, 2010, and the most crowded day in jails during June 2010. Overall, the nation's jails were operating at about 86% of rated capacity on an average day and about 91% of rated capacity on their most crowded day in June 2010. Local jails admitted almost 13 million persons during the 12 months ending June 30, 2010 The jail population at midyear 2010 represented a comparatively small percentage of all admissions reported over the 12-month period.
Local jails admitted an estimated 12.9 million persons during the 12 months ending June 30, 2010, or about 17 times the size of the inmate population (748,728) at midyear. (See Methodology on page 15 for methods used to estimate admissions.) Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) admissions during the last week of June 2010 were to the largest jail jurisdictions (table 4).
Small jail jurisdictions holding fewer than 50 inmates accounted for 6.3% of all jail admissions, but the number of inmates admitted was about 36 times the size of the inmate population at midyear 2010. They also experienced the highest turnover rate (136.7%), compared to large jail jurisdictions (51.5%). The turnover rate takes into account all admissions into and releases from jails. Higher turnover rates mean relatively larger numbers of admissions and releases relative to the size of the average daily population.
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