Top 50 Jails in America – JAILEX Ratings for the TOP 50 Jails, Adult and Juvenile in the United States

Over 15 million men, women and children are arrested and jailed every year in the United States.  That equates to over 5% of the population, or one in twenty citizens. Whether they realize it or not, everyone knows somebody who is, or has been in jail. Even though some of those arrested are eventually found innocent of any crime and are released, many are held in conditions that are so beneath the dignity of this great country that they need to be exposed for treating American citizens no better than dogs in a pound.  However, that is for another article.
This Article will focus on the Top 50 Jails in America and why they were chosen. With 5,955 City and County Jails in the United States, to make the Top 50 is no small feat.
To become a member of JAIL Exchange’s top 50 Jails for 2010, a jail or detention center (adult or juvenile) had to have been rewarded our JAILEX RATING of 5.0 and meet the following criteria:
Jails with a 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, the families and friends of those incarcerated, and the taxpayer. By providing clear, relevant and meaningful online content, they have gone far beyond what over 95% of other facilities in the United States have done. These sheriffs and administrators are communication experts. They are to be commended.

Jails that made the top 50 list usually have the following information:

  • Website that is professionally done, updated regularly and easy to navigate.
  • Inmate Search and/or list that is updated daily.
  • Clear information about the facility and contact info.
  • Visitation rules and schedules.
  • Information on how to send mail and what is allowed.
  • Information about how to deposit money for Inmates.
  • Information about Inmate Services such as Programs and Rehabilitation.
  • A Most Wanted List
  • A list of Active Warrants
  • Virtual Tours and/or photos of the facility.
  • Inmate Handbooks.
  • Employment information for recruiting staff.
  • Availability of information in Spanish.

Top 50 Jails in America – Listed by State


Maricopa County, AZ

Pima County, AZ


Ketchikan Jail, AK

Fairbanks Correctional Center, AK

Fairbanks Juvenile, AK

Anvil Mountain Correctional Center, AK

Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center, AK


Orange County, CA

Placer County, CA

San Diego County, CA

Santa Cruz County, CA

Ventura County, CA


Jefferson County, CO


Alachua County, FL

Broward County, FL

Lake County, FL

Marion County, FL

Pasco County, FL


Johnson County, KS


Lafayette Parish, LA


Carver County, MN

Crow Wing County, MN


Douglas County, NE


Washoe County, NV

New Hampshire

Strafford County, NH

New York

New York City Department of Corrections

Onondaga County, NY

Westchester County, NY

North Carolina

Guilford County Juvenile, NC

Mecklenburg County, NC


Gallia County, OH

Hardin County, OH

Lucas County et al   (Corrections Center of NW OH), OH

Marion County et al (Multi County Correctional), OH


McClain County, OK


Clackamas County, OR

Multnomah County, OR

Washington County, OR


Montgomery County, PA

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Intake Center

South Carolina

Spartanburg County, SC

South Dakota

(Harding County et al) Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center, SD

Pennington County, SD


Bradley County, TN

Davidson County, TN

Rutherford County Juvenile Detention, TN

Shelby County, TN


Collin County Juvenile, TX

Cooke County Juvenile, TX

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.


To check the JAILex Rating of the jails or prisons in your area, click here.

To view how your jail or prison compares to all the facilities in America read this, then go here.

If you want to see the criteria JAILex uses to rate each jail and prison, click here.



About Mark Miclette 682 Articles
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.