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Jails in Indian Country, 2010

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EST Bureau of Justice Statistics
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2011            Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-0556


Nearly 80,000 American Indians/Alaska Natives were under correctional supervision in the U.S.

WASHINGTON­ – At midyear 2010 a total of 2,119 inmates were held in Indian country jails, down 2.6 percent from 2,176 at midyear 2009, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Indian country jails are operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Seventy-five Indian country jails in operation reported inmate counts to BJS in 2010.

Nationwide, the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives under correctional supervision in the U.S. declined by less than one percent between 2009 and 2010. Over 60 percent (48,700) of American Indians and Alaska Natives were on probation or parole, about 19 percent (14,940) were held in state prison, 4 percent (3,258) in federal prison, and 13 percent (9,900) in municipal or county operated local jails. At midyear 2010, Indian country jails held about three percent of the estimated 78,900 American Indians and Alaska Natives under correctional supervision in the U.S.

Thirty-one jails in Indian country accounted for the decrease in the Indian country jail population. Thirty-six jails experienced an increase and seven jails had no change in inmate population over the 12-month period ending midyear 2010. Fourteen Indian country jails held more than half (51 percent) of the total Indian country jails inmate population.

The average expected stay for inmates in Indian country jails dropped from 5.6 days in June 2009 to 4.8 days in June 2010. Indian country jails rated to hold 50 or more inmates held inmates the longest, about 12.5 days, while jails rated to hold 10 to 24 inmates had the shortest length of stay at 2.3 days. Admissions to Indian country jails during June 2010 (12,545 inmates) were about six times the size of the average daily population.

The rated capacity of Indian country jails was 3,001 inmates in 2010, unchanged from 2009. (The rated capacity of a facility is the maximum number of beds or inmates assigned by a rating official.) As a result of a decline in the average daily population, the percentage of rated capacity occupied decreased from 71 percent to 67 percent during the 12-month period.

More than half of all inmates held in Indian country jails had been convicted. After peaking in 2009 at 69 percent, the convicted inmate population declined in 2010 to 59 percent. Inmates confined for a violent offense made up about 3 of every 10 inmates in Indian country jails in 2010, down from about 4 out of every 10 inmates each year between 2004 and 2009.

Domestic violence (13 percent) and simple or aggravated assault (11 percent) offenders represented about a quarter of the population held in Indian country jails in 2010. Between 2000 and 2010, persons held for DWI/DUI offenses declined from 17 percent to 10 percent of the population; at the same time drug offenders declined from 8 percent to 5 percent.

Among the 2,119 inmates held on June 30, 2010, 480 (or 23 percent) were women and 253 (or 12 percent) were juveniles under age 18.

The report, Jails in Indian Country, 2010 (NCJ 236073), was written by BJS statistician Todd D. Minton. Following publication, the report can be found at http://www.bjs.gov. Upon release of the report, the public-use data set for the 2010 Survey of Jails in Indian Country is available at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data at http://dx.doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR32841.v1.

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Date Published: December 6, 2011