Jail Inmates in 2017

County and city jails in the United States reported a total confned population of 745,200 inmates at midyear 2017. About 65% (482,000) of the confned inmates were awaiting court action on a current charge. The remaining 35% (263,200) were sentenced or convicted ofenders awaiting sentencing. The jail incarceration rate at midyear 2017 was 229 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, down from 259 per 100,000 at midyear 2007 and 237 per 100,000 at midyear 2012.

Findings in this report are based on the Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ), a nationally representative survey of county or city jail jurisdictions and regional jails in the country. Since 1982, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has conducted the ASJ to track changes in the number and characteristics of local jail inmates nationwide, jail inmate turnover, jail capacity, and space usage by other authorities. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • County and city jails held 745,200 inmates at midyear 2017, down from 780,200 at midyear 2007.
  • The jail incarceration rate declined from 259 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents at midyear 2007 to 229 per 100,000 at midyear 2017, a 12% decrease.
  • In 2017, males were incarcerated in jail at a rate (394 per 100,000 male U.S. residents) 5.7 times that of females (69 per 100,000 female U.S. residents).
  • In 2017, jails reported 10.6 million admissions, a 19% decline from 2007.
  • The estimated average time in jail in 2017 was 26 days.
  • The total rated capacity of county and city jails was 915,100 beds at midyear 2017.
  • An estimated 81% of jail beds were occupied in 2017, down from 95% in 2005.
  • From 2005 to 2017, the jail incarceration rate for whites increased 12%, while the rate for blacks decreased 23%.
  • The male incarceration rate dropped from 448 per 100,000 male residents in 2005 to 394 per 100,000 in 2017, a 12% drop.
  • Jails employed 225,700 full-time staf at midyear 2017, and the inmate-to-correctional-ofcer ratio was 4.2 to 1. 
Year: 
2017