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Profile of Jail Inmates, 1989

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1991
Publication Series
Based on the 1989 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, this report describes characteristics of jail inmates.

The survey was based on personal interviews with a nationally representative sample of 5,675 inmates in 424 local jails. Data on jail inmate characteristics encompass current detention status, current and past offenses, sentence and time served since admission, prior use of drugs and alcohol, family background, and reported experience of physical or sexual abuse. Results from the 1989 survey are compared to those from the 1983 survey. In 1989, approximately one in four jail inmates was in jail for a drug offense, compared to one in every 10 in 1983. More than half of all jail inmates reported they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense. Approximately 33 percent of all inmates had been in some substance abuse program in the past. Since 1983, the female inmate population has increased at a faster rate than the male population; in 1989, 9.5 percent of all inmates were women. An estimated 44.4 percent of the women and 13.1 percent of the men in jail reported they had been physically or sexually abused at some time in their lives before their current imprisonment. Among the sentenced inmates, half had received a sentence of 6 months or less. 19 tables

Date Published: April 1, 1991