Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Jail-Specific Data Analysis: Considerations for Jail Analysts (2020)

This paper highlights the basics of jail-specific analysis. It emphasizes the importance of linking data and information to the processes from which they are derived, and collecting data in forms amenable to analysis using readily available applications like worksheets and network mapping applications. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how descriptive statistics and basic analysis of the daily activities of jails can support safety and help measure and improve performance. The paper is organized in three parts. Part 1 provides a short overview of the role of jail analysis. Part 2 discusses the fundamentals of collecting information from offender management systems and other information systems and proposes a set of key data elements essential for conducting jail analysis. Part 3 describes representative questions and contexts that jail analysts may encounter in practice and discusses ways analysts can generate insights about practice and performance. Tasks required to support implementation of routine executive or operational review processes are also discussed. A discussion of the many trade-offs required by resource-strapped jails to establish and maintain a modern analytical capacity is beyond the scope of this paper.

Notice about external resources

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. NIC bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.