More Inmates in Indian Country Jails


At midyear 2012, a total of 2,364 inmates were confined in Indian country jails, a 5.6 percent increase from the 2,239 inmates confined at midyear 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today.

Indian country jails are operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The number of known operating jail facilities in Indian country increased from 68 in 2004 to 79 in 2012.

The rated capacity of Indian country jails—the maximum number of beds or inmates assigned by a rating official—increased from 3,136 in 2011 to 3,221 inmates in 2012, an overall increase in capacity of 85 beds. The average expected length of stay at admission for inmates in Indian country jails remained stable at about 5.5 days in both June 2011 and June 2012.

Fourteen Indian country jails held more than half (51 percent) of all inmates at midyear 2012. Four of these facilities held more than 100 inmates, including Tohono O’odham Adult Detention Center (AZ) (229), Gila River Department of Rehabilitation and Supervision – Adult (AZ) (145), San Carlos Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Adult (AZ) (127) and Oglala Sioux Tribal Offenders Facility (SD) (126).

The number of inmates admitted into Indian country jails during June 2012 (12,502 inmates) was more than five times the size of the average daily population (2,253). Sixteen jails were operating at more than 50 percent over capacity on their most crowded day in June 2012. In 2012, more than half of all inmates held in Indian country jails were convicted. A third of all inmates were held for a violent offense, mainly domestic violence (15 percent) and aggravated or simple assault (9 percent). About 10 percent were held for DWI/DUI and five percent for drug law violations.

Indian country jail authorities reported two deaths in custody during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2012—one was reported as a suicide. In 2012, 75 facilities reported 38 attempted suicides. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of attempted suicides declined nearly 86 percent, from 230 down to 33 attempted suicides, based on facilities reporting in both years.

The 76 Indian country jails that reported information on staff employed 1,519 persons at midyear 2012. About 73 percent (1,102) of these personnel were jail operations staff, including correctional officers and other staff who spent more than 50 percent of their time supervising inmates. This was up from 69 percent of all staff during the same period in 2010 and stable since 2011.

Read the full report HERE.

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