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"Although jails are the “front door” to mass incarceration, there is not enough data for justice system stakeholders and others to understand how their jail is being used and how it compares with others. To address this issue, Vera researchers developed a data tool that includes the jail population and jail incarceration rate for every U.S. county that uses a local jail … The data revealed that, since 1970, the number of people held in jail has increased from 157,000 to 690,000 in 2014—a more than four-fold increase nationwide, with growth rates highest in the smallest counties. This data also reveals wide variation in incarceration rates and racial disparities among jurisdictions of similar size and thus underlines an essential point: The number of people in jail is largely the result of choices made by policymakers and others in the justice system. The Incarceration Trends tool provides any jurisdiction with the appetite for change the opportunity to better understand its history of jail use and measure its progress toward decarceration" (website). This website provides access to the Incarceration Trend tool for jails, summary, full report, a video tour of the tool with Chris Henrichson, and data and methods. Sections comprising the full report include: introduction; the expanding footprint of local incarceration—a snapshot of the findings—decades of growth, and growth's disparate impacts; understanding growth and disparities; using the Incarnation Trends tool; and conclusion. The Incarceration Trends tool is interactive and illustrates data per 100,000 county residents for: jail incarceration rate change (1970 to 2014); the 2014 jail incarceration rate; Black/African American jail incarceration rate; female jail incarceration rate; jail and prison incarceration rate for California and New York; what is trending in your county—exploring your counties jail data. One interesting finding is that the largest increase in the number of incarcerated individuals is occurring in mid-sized and small counties. Since 1970, local jail populations in mid-sized counties have grown 4.1 percent, small counties 6.9%, and large counties by 2.8%.

Racial Disparities & Dynamics in the Criminal Justice System cover

While “privatization has enjoyed a steady reemergence in the United States, the companies managing these facilities have faced persistent criticism for providing low-quality services, failing to save taxpayer money, and negatively affecting criminal justice policy. Despite these failures, several countries have followed the United States in utilizing private prisons and detention centers with the intent of decreasing correctional expenditures and reducing prison overcrowding. These developments have helped private U.S. prison companies diversify their investments at a time when America’s prison population growth has stalled … [unfortunately] these companies have thrived off of the expanded privatization of prisons, immigration detention systems, and other governmental services, while often failing to deliver on the services that were promised” (p. 1). This report looks at the increasing use of for-profit prison privatization around the world. Topics discussed include: the extent of international privatization; percent of prisoners held privately; privatization trends in selected countries—Australia, Scotland, England and Wales, New Zealand, and South Africa; number of prisoners held publically and privately for Australia, Scotland, England and Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States; number of publically and privately held immigrant detainees in the United Kingdom; and concerns over privatization related to substandard service, unlikely financial benefits, and government policies guaranteeing higher incarceration rates resulting in more privatization contracts.

International Growth Trends in Prison Privatization Cover

This report "[p]resents estimates of the number of jail inmates at midyear 2013, by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and conviction status. It also provides estimates of year-to-year changes between midyear 2000 and midyear 2013 in the number of inmates held, average daily population, rated capacity of local jails, and percent of capacity occupied. More detailed breakouts by jurisdiction size track changes between 2012 and 2013 in the number of inmates, number of admissions, and weekly turnover rate. The report examines the effect of California's Public Safety Realignment on state-level and national estimates of the confined jail population. Estimates and standard errors are based on data collected from the Annual Survey of Jails." Highlights include: the jail population is significantly lower by midyear 2013 (731,208) following a peak in the number of inmates confined in county and city jails at midyear 2008 (785,533); the number of female inmates increased 10.9% (10,000 inmates) between midyear 2010 and 2013, while the male population declined 4.2% (down 27,500 inmates) with males making up 86% of the jail; and the total jail population is comprises of 47% whites, 36% Blacks, and 15% Hispanics.

Jail Inmates at Midyear 2013 – Statistical Tables Cover

This Bulletin presents "findings from the 2014 Survey of Jails in Indian Country, an enumeration of 79 jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This report examines the trends from 2000 to 2014 in the number of adults and juveniles held, type of offense, number of persons confined on the last weekday in June, peak population, average daily population, admissions in June, and expected average length of stay in jail at admission. It also provides data on rated capacity, facility crowding, and jail staffing in June 2014. The report includes counts of inmate deaths and suicide attempts for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2014, along with comparisons to counts in prior years. Highlights: At midyear 2014, an estimated 2,380 inmates were confined in 79 Indian country jails—4% increase from the 2,287 inmates confined at midyear 2013; The number of inmates admitted into Indian country jails during June 2014 (10,460) was nearly five times the size of the average daily population (2,170); For the 79 facilities operating in June 2014, the expected average length of stay at admission for inmates was about 6 days; Since 2010, about 3 in 10 inmates held in Indian country jails have been confined for a violent offense, a decline from about 4 in 10 since peaking in 2007; [and] Domestic violence (12%) and aggravated or simple assault (9%) accounted for the largest percentage of violent offenders at midyear 2014, followed by unspecified violence (5%) and rape or sexual assault (2%)."

Jails in Indian Country, 2014 Cover

This is an excellent resource for individuals working with or concerned about justice-involved juveniles. JJGPS tracks juvenile justice system reform. Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy Practice & Statistics) is an online repository providing visitors with a sweeping view of the juvenile justice landscape across states and a place to make comparisons and chart change." Six main areas make up this website: jurisdictional boundaries—age boundaries, transfer laws, comparing policy boundaries, and transfer trends; juvenile defense—waivers, timing, structure, indigency requirements, collateral consequences, competency, and national outcomes; racial and ethnic fairness—populations, monitoring methods, reported data, and Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Coordinators; juvenile justice services—structure, evidence-based practices, and recidivism; status offense issues—structure, age boundaries, national outcomes, and reported data; and systems integration—agency integration, coordination, reported data, and progressive data. This website also has: "State juvenile justice profiles highlight the topical content of the JJGPS across its six main menu content areas and underlying topics. Each profile begins with the most recent state trend data on juvenile arrests and custody issues from national data collections and then runs through the six area highlights for comparing and contrasting juvenile justice policy, practice, and statistics."

Juvenile Justice Geography, Policy Practice and Statistics (JJGPS)

Jail space is a limited and expensive resource, and while the Sheriff is responsible for managing the detention facility, overall jail usage is dictated by decisions largely outside his control. This Report is premised on the assumption that Jail planning requires an understanding of the system in which it operates. Available beds in any correctional facility tend to become filled — regardless the number added. ‘Build it and they will come.’ The only way to manage limited, and expensive, jail capacity is to understand the system policies and practices that are driving it. 

Macomb County will need to take a ‘Systems Approach’ to successfully address jail overcrowding. Macomb County needs more jail capacity; but without improvements in local system efficiency and effectiveness any new beds will soon be filled. The solution is to implement a System Master Plan. 


Criminal justice system policies and practices drive jail populations. As such, planning for future jail capacity requires identifying the factors that impact the jail and then asking: What measures might be taken to mitigate jail capacity/ growth without compromising community safety? Does the Jail operate within a criminal justice system that can ensure fair and consistent treatment? Does the Jail benefit from a coordinated and efficient adjudication process that can deliver swift justice? Finally, what innovative approaches might be considered to improve outcomes and lower costs? 

This Master Facilities Confinement Study is a systemic criminal justice review commissioned by Montgomery County with the aim of establishing future bedspace requirements for the County’s correctional facilities and pre-release center. While the study fulfills an important requirement for any funding requests from the State of Maryland for future construction of local detention centers, Montgomery County recognizes - and in fact emphasizes - that this study is much more than a means to that end.


Through the means of a comprehensive overview of the County’s Criminal Justice System and its various stakeholders as they currently function, and with past, present and arising trends considered, the project’s major needs assessment component were conducted. Recommendations for further improvements in pre-trial, detention and re-entry services, as well as for community-based alternatives were grounded in available data and evidence-based practices, and resulted from in-depth research and continued communication and collaboration with system practitioners and credentialed experts. These recommendations were made in good faith within the limitations of the data available that are expected to set the stage for the future of the County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, and their impact on the County’s criminal justice operations will span far beyond corrections alone.


To reach its two major goals - conducting a needs assessment resulting in system-wide recommendations, and producing a capital improvement plan to support the seeking of funding for capital projects from the State – the Master Facilities Confinement Study is guided by principles that Montgomery County highlights in its Criminal Justice System. Firstly, jail bedspace demand is not solely a corrections issue; it is a factor affected and defined by the Criminal Justice System at large, as corrections does not function in a vacuum but reflects the outcome of numerous societal components. Additionally, bedspace needs do not stand alone, but must be considered in conjunction with overall offender flow and management. Thus, it follows that bedspace need projections and improvement suggestions must result from coordination and collaboration with numerous criminal justice agencies as well as supportive services and programs, such as those of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Finally, in line with today’s best practices and Montgomery County’s ideology behind criminal justice practices at large, all efforts in the Master Facilities Confinement Study are guided by an underlying philosophy of least restrictive responses to criminal activity, without compromising public safety.

"Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, the distribution of deaths across jails, and the aggregate count of deaths in federal prisons. The report presents annual counts and 14-year trends between 2000 and 2013 in deaths in custody. It provides mortality rates per 100,000 inmates in custody in jail or prison; details the causes of death, including deaths attributed to homicide, suicide, illness, intoxication, and accidental injury; describes decedents' characteristics, including age, sex, race or Hispanic origin, legal and hold status, and time served; and specifies the state where the deaths occurred. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, initiated in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297). Some highlights include: local jail inmate deaths increased 1%, from 958 deaths in 2012 to 967 deaths in 2013; suicides in local jails increased 9%, from 300 suicides in 2012 to 327 in 2013; deaths in prison increased from 3,357 in 2012 to 3,479 in 2013, reaching the highest number since the prison data collection began in 2001--total number of deaths increased 4% between 2012 and 2013; Illness-related deaths accounted for 89% of all deaths in prison in 2013.

Mortality In Local Jails And State Prisons, 2000–2013 - Statistical Tables cover

This report presents detailed statistical tables on mortality in state and federal prisons. It provides information on cause of death; decedent characteristics, such as age, gender, and race or ethnicity; and mortality rates of inmate populations, compared to the general U.S. adult population. The report is based on BJS’s annual Mortality in Correctional Institutions data collection, which obtains information on persons who died while in the physical custody of state departments of corrections.

Conditions in county jails that conform to the United States Constitution are a prerequisite for the legitimacy and integrity of the American justice system. Under the Eighth and 14th Amendments, jails have a duty to protect all people who are incarcerated, whether sentenced or pretrial. 

Conditions that fail to meet not only constitutional but also state and department standards for physical security, medical care, mental health care and living environment are unlawful and should not be tolerated. Discriminatory policies and practices and noncompliance with legal standards may further violate the rights of individuals who are incarcerated and give rise to concerns of legal liability.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, roughly 242,000 people in California are in custody. More than 34% are incarcerated at local jails, accounting for roughly 13% of the nation’s local jail population. For more than 40 years, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) has worked to ensure that a basic standard of care is provided to people in jail. The ACLU SoCal is the court-ordered monitor of conditions of confinement within all Los Angeles County jail facilities. Through its Jails Project, the ACLU SoCal responds to complaints by individuals who are incarcerated and ensures that court-ordered reforms are implemented. The organization also entered into a partnership with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office to help monitor its jails in 2016. 

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