The JAILEX Rating System – Identifying and Rating the Best and Worst Jails in America

JAIL Exchange is the only FREE Inmate Search that provides the viewer with every bit of available information on every Inmate Search, and every jail and prison in the United States. While conducting our in-depth research over an 18-month period, we were able to identify those City and County Jails that went above and beyond all the others in providing complete and helpful information to their jurisdiction and listing it on their website in a simple, clear, easy to understand format.

UPDATE May 1, 2012:   We have temporarily disbanded the jailex ratings from our website due to the difficulty in keeping our scoring updated properly. We anticipate coming out with 2012 results at the end of the year, but on a more limited basis. We wish to focus our attention on those jails who provide quality information, unfortunately a minority of the jurisdictions.

Harris County Jail - Houston, Texas

Harris County Jails in Texas were awarded a 4.5 JAILEX Rating, among the best in the country

JAILEX Rating System

Because we were so impressed with the Sheriffs and Administrators of the top-rated jails, and thoroughly disgusted with the jails that did little more than post a photo of the elected sheriff posing with his taxpayer-funded car, we decided to come up with a detailed rating system for every jail and prison in America.

We call it the JAILEX Rating System.

Here is how our JAILEX Ratings were awarded for 2010:

5.0 – Highest Rating: Perfect. This facility’s online presence is captivating. The operator of this facility understands that providing complete information is essential to saving time, money and frustration for all involved, including staff and the families and friends of those incarcerated along with the taxpayer. With their content, they have provided relevant information that goes far beyond what 95% of other facilities in the United States have done. It’s all about communication.

4.5 – Near Perfect. This facility’s online presence is captivating. The operator of this facility understands that providing complete information is essential to saving time, money and frustration for all involved: staff, the families and friends of those incarcerated and the taxpayer. The only aspect that is lacking is the exclusion of a comprehensive Inmate Search, a Most Wanted directory, or the website needs to be tweaked so the information is easier to find.

4.0 – Very Good. This facility’s online presence is very well done. The operator of this facility understands that providing complete information is essential to saving time, money and frustration for all involved: staff, the families and friends of those incarcerated and the taxpayer. The only aspect that is lacking is the exclusion of a comprehensive Inmate Search, a Most Wanted directory, or the website needs to be tweaked so the information is more thorough and easier to find.

3.5 – Good. This facility’s web presence is above average. The operator of this facility communicates information that is a step above what would be considered a minimal amount of information but clearly understands that providing online information is a necessity.

3.0 – Average. The operator of this facility communicates information that would be considered minimal. They understand that providing information to those involved is a necessity, but it stops short of being helpful beyond giving the basics.

2.5 – Below Average. The operator of this facility communicates they have a sheriff, a jail or a building that houses inmates but provides no online information that is helpful. The information they disclose online needs much work.

2.0 – Way Below Average. The operator of this facility communicates they have a Sheriff, a jail, a building, maybe a new patrol car, but seriously, why is there no online information? Their online presence needs much work.

1.5 – Close to Irresponsible. In most cases, this website is lacking all information except for their Sheriff’s name and a few things that hint at a jail, but no specific reference to it. We have heard rumors it exists but are left wondering. C’mon guys! The taxpayers deserve more.

1.0 – Utterly Irresponsible. The operator of this facility gives us two things: The Sheriff’s name and an address. We believe there is a facility but there is no information. Pitiful.

0 – ZERO! In the world of ratings, this says it all. This facility is a black hole. It exists only on paper – a line item where money is spent, people are taken and then just disappear. This facility reflects poorly on their City, County or State’s image to the outside world. The citizens of the world find their information online now. This is inexcusable!

Jefferson County Jail in Texas

This Jail in Jefferson County Texas received a below average JAILEX Rating of 2.5; with over 1,000 inmates on a given day, there is limited information about the inmates for their loved ones.

The only way to shine a spotlight on America’s jails and prisons and encourage them to provide at least a minimum standard on the information they provide to the public, a rating system is needed. The JAILEX Rating System is the first step in encouraging every facility to provide its constituents with Contact information, Visitation policies, Inmate searches and general guidelines.

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For a list of the Top 50 Jails (Adult and Juvenile) in the United States, click here.

For an overview of all 5,995 City and County Jails and how they fared as a group, click here.

Do you need to find an Inmate?  Go here to begin your search for any one of 9,000 Jails and Prisons.

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.