For the second year in a row, in the one year period ending June 30, 2010, the number of inmates in city and county jails in custody has declined. The purpose of this article is to present you the most relevant numbers as presented by the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. This does not include inmates incarcerated in state or federal prisons.
The average number of inmates in US City and County Jails on any given day for the period from mid-year 2009 to mid-year 2010 was 748,728, a decline of 2.4% from the previous year. The jail incarceration rate decreased to 242 jail inmates per 100,000 US residents, the lowest it has been since 2003. The BJS has been tracking this data since 1982, after the US began seeing an explosion in those arrested and jailed in jails and prisons. According to the BJS, this decline was centered on large jails only, those who incarcerate 1,000 inmates or more.
Small jails, those with an average daily inmate count of 50 or less, and medium size jails with an inmate count up to 750, actually saw increases in their daily populations.
Demographic Breakdown Nationwide
- Adults made up 99% of the jail population.
- Males 87.7%
- Females 12.3%
- Whites 44.3%
- Blacks 37.8%
- Hispanics 15.8%
- Inmates Convicted 61.1%
- Inmates not Convicted 38.9%
- US Immigration and ICE Inmates 3.5%
These percentages have remained stable since the report from the year 2000.
A Deeper Look into the Jail Populations
Only six of the large jails nationwide reported major declines in population, resulting in 46% of the nationwide decline. They are:
- Los Angeles County with a decline of 3,007 inmates
- Maricopa County, AZ 1,196 inmates
- Orange County, CA 1,143 inmates
- Philadelphia 1,111 inmates
- Fresno County, CA 1,105 inmates
- Harris County, TX 1,096 inmates
One-third (57 total) of large jails actually reported an increase in their population during the period in this report, while the smaller jails saw increases generally nationwide.
Local jails admitted almost 13 million inmates during this period, or about 17 times
the actual population on an average given day. Bed space utilization was about 86% of their rated capacity and reached a high in June 2010 at 91% utilization.
In 2010 there were enough jail beds to hold 866,974 inmates, an increase of about 17,000 over 2009 and a 210,000 increase over the year 2000.
The number of beds by jail size breaks down as follows:
50 inmates or less 22,806
1,000 or more 371,181
The Top 50 Largest Jails
The following is a list of the largest Jails in America, based upon the average daily population of inmates incarcerated.
JAIL Number of Daily Inmates
- Los Angeles County, CA 16,862
- New York City, NY 13,049
- Harris County Texas 10,242
- Cook County, IL 9,586
- Philadelphia City, PA 8,804
- Maricopa County, AZ 8,055
- Dallas County, TX 6,865
- Miami-Dade County, FL 5,770
- Shelby County, TN 5,766
10. San Bernardino County, CA 5,755
11. Orange County, CA 5,134
12. San Diego County, CA 4,848
13. Broward County, FL 4,583
14. Alameda County, CA 4,305
15. Sacramento County, CA 4,199
16. Bexar County, TX 4,169
17. Jacksonville City, FL 3,835
18. Baltimore City, MD 3,701
19. Orange County, FL 3,604
20. Santa Clara County, CA 3,587
21. DeKalb County, GA 3,560
22. Davidson County, TN 3,551
23. Orleans Parish, LA 3,522
24. Riverside County, CA 3,410
25. Hillsborough County, FL 3,340
26. Tarrant County, TX 3,248
27. Allegheny County, PA 3,233
28. Pinellas County, FL 3,225
29. Gwinnett County, GA 3,198
30. Clark County, NV 3,158
31. District of Columbia 3,102
32. Palm Beach County, FL 2,901
33. Milwaukee County, WI 2,710
34. Travis County, TX 2,691
35. Bernalillo County, NM 2,689
36. Kern County, CA 2,483
37. Cobb County, GA 2,369
38. King County, WA 2,343
39. York County, PA 2,284
40. Suffolk County, MA 2,280
41. Mecklenburg County, NC 2,274
42. Fulton County, GA 2,269
43. Polk County, FL 2,268
44. Salt Lake County, UT 2,196
45. Essex County, NJ 2,151
46. Denver County, CO 2,101
47. Oklahoma County, OK 2,100
48. Marion County, IN 2,096
49. Clayton County, GA 2,080
50. Franklin County, OH 2,041
Overall, several of the larger jails have seen a slightly reduced number of inmates in custody, while the majority of jails nationwide have seen an increase. Nothing much has changed however, as the United States continues to lead the world in having the largest percentage of a population incarcerated.
Go here to find an inmate in a jail or prison in America, anywhere, anytime, on any device.
To view or download the full report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, click here.