of jail inmates
• Women were 12% of the local jail inmates in 2002, up from
10% in 1996.
• Jail inmates were older on average in 2002 than 1996:
38% were age 35 or older, up from 32% in 1996.
• More than 6 in 10 persons in local jails in 2002 were
racial or ethnic minorities, unchanged from 1996.
• An estimated 40% were black; 19%, Hispanic, 1% American
Indian; 1% Asian; and 3% of more than one race/ethnicity.
• Half of jail inmates in 2002 were held for a violent or
drug offense, almost unchanged from 1996.
• Drug offenders, up 37%, represented the largest source
of jail population growth between 1996 and 2002.
• More than two-thirds of the growth in inmates held in
local jails for drug law violations was due to an increase in
persons charged with drug trafficking.
• Thirty-seven percent of jail inmates were convicted on
a new charge; 18% were convicted on prior charges following revocation
of probation or parole; 16% were both convicted of a prior charge
and awaiting trial on a new charge; and 28% were unconvicted.
• Fifty-three percent of jail inmates were on probation,
parole or pretrial release at the time of arrest.
• Four in 10 jail inmates had a current or past sentence
for a violent offense.
• Thirty-nine percent of jail inmates in 2002 had served
3 or more prior sentences to incarceration or probation, down
from 44% in 1996.
Substance Use and Treatment
• Half (50%) of convicted jail inmates were under the influence
of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense, down from 59%
• Three out of every four convicted jail inmates were alcohol
or drugs-involved at the time of their current offense.
• Alcohol use at the time of the offense dropped from 41%
(1996) to 35% (2002), while drug use dropped from 35% to 29%.
• Average sentence length of inmates serving their time
in a local jail increased from 22 months in 1996 to 24 months
• Time expected to be served in jail dropped from 10 months
in 1996 to 9 months, in 2002
• Thirty-one percent of jail inmates had grown up with a
parent or guardian who abused alcohol or drugs
• About 12 percent had lived in a foster home or institution.
• Forty-six percent had a family member who had been incarcerated.
• More than 50% of the women in jail said they had been
physically or sexually abused in the past, compared to more than
10% of the men.