Skip to main content

The Compendium of U.S. jails: creating and conducting research with the first comprehensive contact database of U.S. jails

Abstract

Background

Millions of people pass through U.S. jails annually. Conducting research about these public institutions is critical to understanding on-the-ground policies and practices, especially health care services, affecting millions of people. However, there is no existing database of the number, location, or contact information of jails. We created the National Jails Compendium to address this gap. In this paper, we detail our comprehensive methodology for identifying jail locations and contact information. We then describe the first research project to use the Compendium, a survey assessing jails’ treatment practices for incarcerated pregnant people with opioid use disorder.

Results

This study sent surveys electronically or in paper form to all 2986 jails in the Compendium, with 1139 surveys returned. We outline the process for using the Compendium, highlighting challenges in reaching contacts through case examples, cataloging responses and non-responses, and defining what counts as a jail.

Conclusion

We aim to provide tools for future researchers to use the Compendium as well as a pathway for keeping it current. The Compendium provides transparency that aids in understanding jail policies and practices. Such information may help devise interventions to ensure humane, evidence-based treatment of incarcerated people.

Introduction

In 2018, there were an estimated 10.7 million jail admissions, with nearly 740,000 confined in jails and thousands returning to communities from jails daily (Zeng, 2020). Jail time impacts those incarcerated and their families, employers, and communities, and disproportionately affects people of color and other marginalized groups. Despite this broad-reaching influence and that jails are publicly funded institutions, we cannot definitively confirm the number of jails in the U.S. Without systematic information about where and how many jails exist, the implementation of standardized, safe health care services within jails remains challenging. In contrast, prisons have easily accessible, centralized accountability systems including websites and addresses for state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There is no available database listing the location and existence of U.S. jails.

Since 1982, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, has collected demographic data about people in jails; the most recent 2013 Census of Jails estimated there were 3134 jails (Bureau of Justice Statistics, n.d.; Minton, Ginder, Brumbaugh, Smiley-McDonald, & Rohloff, 2015). While BJS makes all of its data, collection tools, and methodology public, the studies are limited in scope (Chari, Simon, DeFrances, & Maruschak, 2016; Maruschak, 2016). Contact information for these jails is not publicly available, nor is the means through which BJS confirms that the institutions are, in fact, jails. BJS defines jails as “correctional facilities that confine persons before or after adjudication and are usually operated by local law enforcement authorities,” (Minton et al., 2015, p.20) in addition to confining people for more than 72 h (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2018). Still, there are caveats to these definitions, including federally operated jails and single unified prison/jail systems.

Data from jails is important because jails are ground zero for numerous justice and equity concerns, including issues of policing, health, poverty, and racism. To address the gap in data and facilitate research about U.S. jails, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) partnered with researchers at George Mason University to compile and validate a National Jails Compendium. In this paper, we outline the methodology for assembling the Compendium—the largest, most comprehensive database of jails to date. We then describe the first use of this database for a national, cross-sectional survey collecting data on the availability of medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD) for pregnant people in jails. Our aim is to highlight unique methodological insights for conducting a large-scale study of all known US jails and highlighting the nuances of studying our nation’s disjointed and highly localized jail system. We outline lessons learned from recruitment processes, categorizing survey responses and non-responses, and other challenges through case examples. This account will aid future researchers and users of the Compendium.

Methods: creating a U.S. jails database from scratch

Collaboration and research context

Leaders at NIC (a federal agency that provides technical assistance and guidance for policymakers and correctional institutions) and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) recognized both the lack of a comprehensive contact database of jails in the U.S. and the value of having such a list for research and policy. NIC and the BOP therefore contracted with Dr. Danielle Rudes' and Chelsea Foudray's research team at George Mason University in 2019 to assemble a National Jails Compendium, a database with verified contact information for every U.S. jail facility.

Simultaneously, The Advocacy and Research on Reproductive Wellness of Incarcerated People (ARRWIP) research team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine met with leaders in the jails division of NIC and the National Sheriffs Association (NSA)—a non-governmental, professional association for local sheriffs with state-level affiliates—to discuss the importance of jails providing appropriate treatment to pregnant people with opioid use disorder (OUD) housed in their facilities and ARRWIP’s plans to conduct a survey on jail’s practices around OUD in pregnancy. Given NIC’s recognition of the significance of prioritizing treatment for pregnant people in jails, a plan emerged to administer this survey using the Compendium. Prior to survey distribution, the GMU and ARRWIP teams discussed the Compendium, its intended use for the survey, and brainstormed strategies for distribution and anticipated pitfalls.

Building the Compendium required an extensive, comprehensive effort to identify, catalogue, and collect information on all U.S. jails (non-tribal, adult, non-private). To provide transparency and help future researchers understand the methods involved in the Compendium’s creation, this section outlines inclusion guidelines, search strategies, and data management of the three-phased approach to locating and verifying jails’ contact information.

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

We crafted clear inclusion and exclusion criteria for what counts as a jail. Our working definition included any carceral institution (non-prison) that goes beyond having just holding cells. Jails listed in the Compendium are facilities that hold detainees pre- and post-adjudication. Using these criteria, we identified jails for U.S. adult populations that are non-tribal and non-private in cities or counties in all 50 states plus Washington, DC. To ensure a comprehensive Compendium, facility size did not matter.

When a jail accommodated different populations in two or more separate buildings (i.e., adults/juveniles; males/females), we listed each facility separately even when the facilities had the same physical address, but only included the adult units. The team made this decision because separate buildings/units may operate differently. However, when two different groups were housed in the same building, the facility was treated as one facility, as staff in these units are often fluid. We excluded facilities that only operate as reentry/work release facilities, weekend programs, or serve as temporary holding units (i.e., 48-h holding cells). Only active and presently open facilities were included. These criteria, along with decisions as to which information to include in the Compendium, were established in discussion with the NIC and the BOP.

Search strategy

The team searched the internet using Google to find jails in each U.S. state and D.C. Phase 1 of the search entailed compiling information provided by a few research teams at universities and non-profit organizations. In Phase 2, we expanded the search to identify counties in each state for a more targeted search, using terms such as [state] jails, [county] jails. Additional verification included searching for sheriff’s offices related to each jail. From there, we followed the website and/or other available information to verify and locate jails. For comprehensiveness, the team searched for each facility’s physical jail address, phone number, email, contact person—sheriff, police chief, other jail administrator—and whenever possible, the number of beds. Initial searches yielded few addresses and phone numbers, and little regarding jail leaders’ names and email addresses.

To facilitate searching, we used information from Bureau of Prisons (BOP)/NIC, utilizing connections with research teams involved in jail-based research as well as available websites/lists. Since Phase 2 demanded exhaustivity, we split the initial search between two team members, each searching 25 states to create a fuller list. This phase yielded approximately 80% of the included jails. The main sources of information included state Sheriffs’ Associations and “offender locator” sites. We also used informational websites, including PrisonPro, SearchQuarry, Public Records, and InmateAid.

During Phase 3, the team creatively approached missing jail information. We searched for personnel affiliated with jails and information about individual jails. We did this by searching county/city Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Sheriff’s Associations, local news postings from particular jurisdictions, and other avenues available. While this information was often negligible, several times we located key information about a jail via these untraditional methods. We also searched using Google Maps and made direct contact with facilities through website submission forms or phone calls. When these methods failed to provide the necessary information, we identified the sheriff or police chief as the main point of contact.

As part of this phase, we also enlisted the help of nearly 60 well-trained undergraduate research assistants to do a fourth-round search for any missing jails that conformed to inclusivity requirements. These undergraduate assistants were thoroughly briefed on the purpose of the Compendium, trained in the search strategy employed by the team, trained in how to speak with jail administration, and closely supervised by the lead researchers. We assumed that jails were missing from our dataset due to the lower number of jails found using the aforementioned search techniques, as compared with BJS’s estimate of the number of jails in the U.S. (n = 3134) (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2018). The research assistants verified existing information and identified missed jails. We found approximately 20% of the jails in the Compendium during this search. Any additional facilities found during this phase were verified by the lead researchers. The research assistants followed-up on any inconsistent information by contacting the facilities (generally via telephone), though facilities were often unable or unwilling to provide necessary information. More than 80% of jails contacted hung up. The inability to establish direct contact with facilities also meant we were unable to expand upon the Compendium through snowball sampling. When that occurred, we searched for that facility again on all of the websites we utilized in Phases 1 and 2, pinpointed several sources, and included the most recent information.

Data management

To build the Compendium, the team created an Excel file containing a single tab for each of the 50 states and for D.C. that still operates as a living document and is continually updated. Each worksheet in the file contains rows for individual jails and columns to capture jail name, physical address, phone number, contact person, email address, and two “optional” columns for number of beds and miscellaneous information (Table 1).

Table 1 Overview of Data Capture

For quality control, the research team partnered with the Vera Institute for contact data verification during the late spring of 2019, as Vera was collecting information on U.S. jails that coincided with the Compendium creation. This cross-check resulted in three jails added to the Compendium.

As of June 2020, the National Jails Compendium consists of 2953 facilities. This number is nearly 200 jails lower than the 2013 BJS estimate (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2018). This lower number may partially be due to jail closures and the difficulty of locating and identifying U.S. jails. It must be noted, however, that the BJS utilizes broader inclusion criteria than the Compendium. The BJS includes special jails such as release centers, halfway houses, and work farms6, while the Compendium excludes such facilities. Additionally, compared to jail documents previously used for jail-based research, such as the Annual Survey of Jails, the Compendium used an exhaustive strategy to collect facility-level information about jails rather than a representative sample to determine characteristics of residents within jails. As such, the Compendium provides a wider opportunity for research within jails.

Results: first use of the National Compendium to research jails

Processing the compendium for study recruitment

The GMU team shared the Compendium with ARRWIP in July 2019, at which point there were 2986 jails in the database. The research study was approved by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Institutional Review Board.

We initially planned to administer surveys solely online using the web-based, secure Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) platform (Harris et al., 2009). However, nearly one-third of jails (n = 921) lacked an email address. Thus, we divided the Compendium into two groups: Wave 1 consisted of electronic survey administration via REDCap to jails with an email address; Wave 2 involved mailing surveys via the U.S. Postal Service for jails with no email address and Wave 1 jails that did not respond after two email reminders. Each method yielded valuable information and illuminated the nuances of large-scale jail-based research.

Wave 1: electronic recruitment and survey administration

From the Compendium, we created and cleaned a new Excel file, containing only jails with an email address, and imported into REDCap. Cleaning consisted of consolidating jail entries with two contact persons and email addresses listed. If there were two contact persons for the same facility, we selected the first one listed or the more professional of the two based on username and email server (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail.). We addressed recruitment emails to sites without a contact person as ‘Dear Sheriff.’ For survey purposes, we consolidated entries where contact information for multiple facilities was the same (n = 59), although the Compendium guidelines defined different units at the same jail as different entities. We did this because, presumably, they were under the same operational oversight and would therefore have similar health care policies across facilities, to reduce duplicate responses, and to limit recruitment burden. Wave 1 included a total of 2006 contacts with email addresses from the original Compendium. We added an additional 11 contacts from NIC’s Large Jail Network and NSA Executive State Heads who were not in the initial contact database, bringing the total to 2017 contacts with email addresses.

Electronic recruitment consisted of an initial email invitation and survey link, followed by reminders 2 and 4 weeks later. To maximize chances that people would open the emails and signal this was about jails and opioids, we created a dedicated email address for the study, opiates.jailmoms@jhu.edu. We used the word “inmate” in our communications with potential subjects to use language that would resonate with their daily operations and increase their chances of participating; however, we recognize the importance overall of using person-centered language. Our study was backed by NSA, and we leveraged this support by including, with permission, their logo and endorsement in our recruitment email. As an incentive, the research team also pledged, for each completed survey, a donation to one of two charities of the jail’s choice: First Responders Children’s Foundation or Phoenix House. This donation was the same amount for all facilities. We chose this instead of direct compensation because we anticipated many respondents would be unable to accept individual remuneration.

Three weeks after sending the mass initial survey invitation—and after at least one reminder—a contact at the NSA sent an email to all state executive directors endorsing the survey and urging them to encourage member jails to participate. We sent a final reminder email to non-respondents 3 months after Wave 1 began. If we did not receive a response 3 weeks after this, they were counted as non-respondents.

Despite these efforts, the Wave 1 response rate was approximately 10%, with a significant amount of undeliverable recruitment emails (n = 257). The failed delivery could be attributable to changes in jail leadership, incorrect email addresses or server rejections, despite the validation process used in creating the Compendium.

Wave 2: paper recruitment and survey administration

Wave 2, paper recruitment, was more complex and required more planning, time, and person-power. Initially, we designated Wave 2 for the 908 contacts without email addresses. Due to the low Wave 1 response rate, we decided to add all 1807 Wave 1 non-respondents to Wave 2, making the total mailing list roughly 2715 contacts.

We organized Wave 2 mailings in a staggered fashion to states based on geographic region to manage the large number of contacts. To maximize responses, we sent a postcard to alert the jail to the survey’s impending arrival. To lend legitimacy to the mailing, the postcard displayed both our institution’s and the NSA logo, and featured an open link to the survey so recipients could access and complete the survey online. This system allowed us to efficiently send out all materials within 2 months. If an individual’s name was not listed in The Compendium, we addressed surveys and postcards to the jail’s “Health Services Administrator.” Each mailed survey included a pre-addressed, stamped return envelope to return the completed survey and an additional ten pages for sharing pertinent jail protocols, if applicable; people could also return the survey by scanning and emailing it. (Fig. 1, Table 2).

Fig. 1
figure1

National Jail Survey Recruitment Flowchart

Table 2 National Jail Survey Recruitment Method and Survey Yield

Managing responses

Paper recruitment yielded far more completions and correspondence. Some paper surveys had inconsistencies that demonstrate overarching themes specific to jail research, such as leadership turnover, delivery to an inappropriate person, jail leadership miscommunication and possibly misunderstanding of health care services, and difficulty pinpointing the facility’s physical address, including reports of “no jail” at the specified location. However, most returned surveys were completed without issues.

We received a total of n = 1139 returned surveys (39% response rate) to the national jail survey between September 2019 and June 2020 (with most completed by December 2019): 375 via REDCap, 769 mailed responses and 28 emailed responses. Of the 375 online completions, 32 respondents were solely in Wave 2, meaning they followed the link on the recruitment postcard to complete the survey online. These responses encompassed all correspondence received from recipients including: (1) completed and partially completed surveys (n = 853); (2) not applicable responses (n = 226); (3) duplicate responses from the same facility (n = 33); (4) ‘already completed’ responses despite incompletion (n = 9), and (5) ‘addressee not here’ responses (n = 18). At our invitation, 74 jails submitted (9 via REDCap, 69 via USPS) written jail policies and protocols pertaining to MOUD treatment for pregnant people.

Twenty respondents incorrectly reported that they or someone else at their jail had previously completed the survey. We sent these individuals a personalized letter and requested completion, which yielded an additional 11 surveys.

We created an option for snowball sampling, asking recruited people to share the survey link with others, which yielded 26 additional responses (included in the total responses and response rate) from jails that were not a part of our version of the Compendium. We suspect they may have received the link from colleagues or through the NSA state emails. These 26 additional facilities were added to the Compendium. Figure 2 illustrates the categorization of all responses received from the National Jail Survey.

Fig. 2
figure2

National Jail Survey Responses

Challenges & case examples

This section describes useful lessons from this large-scale jail health services survey. We highlight major challenges encountered, how challenges were handled, and provide representative case examples. This information informs the practicality using the Compendium for future research studies, highlights research limitations within local institutions of detention, and begins conversations about overcoming such barriers (Table 3).

Table 3 Challenges & Case Examples

Discussion

Value of the compendium

To our knowledge, this is the largest research survey to date of health care services in jails across the U.S. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey of state prisons regarding the availability of various health care services, no such similar comprehensive study exists of jails (Chari et al., 2016). Our study involving the availability of MOUD for pregnant people speaks to the utility and challenges of using the Compendium for health-related research.

The processes of compiling contact information about jails, soliciting health care services information, and processing (non-)responses provide useful information for future researchers. Moreover, research with the Compendium illuminates core issues about accountability for these public institutions.

Given the vast influence of the U.S. jails system, a national jails datasheet has immense research value. Publicly available information about jails is inconsistent and difficult to find. The goals of the Compendium are therefore twofold. First, the Compendium addresses the knowledge gap about jails, aiming to improve information on jails. Second, the Compendium aims to facilitate U.S. jail-based research by reducing the work required by researchers in locating jails, in addition to decreasing the chances of missing facilities. By creating the Compendium, we hope research in jails becomes less encumbered. Additionally, we hope the Compendium sheds light on the less frequently researched, but equally important, facilities such as city jails and smaller county jails, as well as increases knowledge about the overall structure and operations of U.S. jails. Given these goals, the Compendium is available upon request from Stephen Amos at the NIC/BOP (Stephen.Amos@usdoj.gov). It is our hope that the Compendium will facilitate future jail-based research and in turn provide valuable feedback on the information contained within the Compendium.

Since the Compendium aims at facilitating jail-based research, it is imperative to clearly define what constitutes a jail. The main criteria for inclusion in the Compendium are for the jail to be open, active, and house adult populations. The Compendium excluded Federal prisons, tribal jails, juvenile facilities, and facilities with only holding cells, and researchers should consider the effect these exclusions have on their study design. Additionally, researchers should be mindful of jail housing structures that distinguish between different populations in different buildings versus different populations on different floors of the same building. These variations could mean different staff and therefore different organizational cultures and relationships, which may provide residents with different experiences.

Aside from the above-mentioned considerations, facility capabilities are an important part of what constitutes a jail. “Length of stay” is particularly important, because it may dictate the availability of services and therefore the scope of future research. Our inclusion of longer-term facilities broadens research possibilities. Facility size is irrelevant for inclusion in the Compendium, since smaller and larger facilities often function similarly. Therefore, smaller facilities might be able to shed light on lesser-studied aspects of jails.

In addition to our study, the National Institute of Justice offers guidelines for conducting meaningful research in jails (Chakraborty, 2019), raising issues that complement the lessons we learned in compiling and implementing the Compendium. Future researchers can learn from this resource in crafting research questions and designing methods, paired with lessons presented here.

Information accuracy

One of the challenges of creating a Compendium was establishing a starting point. This is in part due to a lack of cohesive information on state websites. In states with Sheriff’s Association websites and published jail information, websites were rarely complete or up to date. Because critical information was often missing, we used other websites and outlets to identify missing variables which reinforces the need for availability of basic information regarding the U. S jail system.

This lack of research on the functioning of jails has implications for facilities themselves, as well as for the research conducted on incarceration more broadly. Given the inaccuracy and sometimes non-existence of information on local jail practices, the total experience of residents in jails may be significantly obscured. This means that research on incarceration may be missing out on significant variables impacting resident behavior and outcomes. Community relationships may also be obscured, which may impact how jails function on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, more transparency and research in jails can benefit jails as well. Different facilities are constantly developing innovative ways of handling day-to-day operations, which can be beneficial to other jails in different areas of the U.S. More transparency in how jails function may eventually save money, improve resident and staff conditions within facilities, and overall improve the way jails function.

Creating a more transparent environment is no easy task. State and local governments could aid in improving transparency and the research process by improving upon processes already in existence. For example, Sheriff’s Associations are already centralized, local agencies. Since jails are often connected to sheriff departments, capitalizing upon these connections by maintaining record of local practices and facilities could improve upon the current transparency. We hope that the issues our team encountered in collecting reliable, up to date information brings awareness to local and state governments on the difficulties of contacting people within the jail. As such, it is possible that loved ones have similar issues with contacting these facilities. Improving the ease through which facilities can be contacted and the information that is publicly available may help relationships within the community for facilities and residents simultaneously, and eventually make daily functioning easier for jails themselves as well.

Because out-of-date websites may reflect inaccurate information about facilities, frequent updates to the Compendium are imperative. Facilities may have changed leadership, closed, relocated, or changed their housing policies without reflecting these changes on their websites. Discovering which facilities have information inaccuracies is difficult until researchers use the Compendium and provide feedback.

Our methods for compiling the Compendium have some limitations. Because the project was vast and substantial, it is possible the team missed qualifying jails. While we tried to be comprehensive, not all websites were informative, and we therefore resorted to a litany of alternate ways of gathering information. These information-gathering strategies do not guarantee accuracy. However, being aware of these limitations, the team cross-referenced all found jails and used multiple checks throughout the process.

Lessons from returned surveys

Aside from BJS’s periodic census of jails, national-scale research about jails is rare and frequently relies on surveying a representative sample. The inconsistencies and challenges of locating jails has, until the Compendium, precluded researchers’ abilities to conduct studies within jails. Despite the Compendium’s rigorous search, we received responses from unidentified jails, due to our snowball sampling and outreach via NSA. Jails open and close, change leadership, and may have slipped through the cracks of the Compendium search strategy.

Strategic data collection and recruitment processes are needed to not only reach jail facilities, but to also maximize response rates. BJS performs a jail census through field visits, phone calls, and mailing forms, rather than doing so electronically, but this is not practical for health services researchers. The ARRWIP team used an endorsement and logo from an organization jails respect and recognize, the NSA, in recruitment materials, sent pre-survey postcards, invited snowball sampling, and used both electronic and mailed forms. In 1999, a CDC study involving an email survey to 115 jail facilities had a 97% response rate, though this was calculated by county (not facility) and occurred at a time when email correspondence was still infrequent (Parece, Herrera, Voigt, Middlekauff, & Irwin, 1999). We hypothesized that electronic recruitment would yield a higher response rate than paper recruitment because it required less effort from the respondent and reduced chances of lost surveys. However, the bulk of the responses came from paper surveys (n = 769) compared to electronic submissions (n = 403). This overall low response rate of 10% to the electronic survey suggests future jail surveys might use paper surveys, but this comes with a warning that our paper recruitment effort was intensive and required more people, time, and money. Paper responses also increased the chances of data quality concerns (i.e., respondents completing the survey incorrectly). Despite these hurdles, the responses we received via paper surveys were invaluable.

Mailed-back surveys that we deemed “not applicable” for our survey about pregnant women with OUD provided telling information about jails and stressed the need for a regularly updated national jails database. Many responses came with handwritten notes explaining: (1) there is no jail at that location; (2) the jail is a short-term holding facility, or (3) detainees are housed in another facility and/or county. These responses shed light on what constitutes a jail, what services jails may or may not provide, where people are housed, and whether the jail actually exists.

Some of the inner workings of jails were illuminated through duplicate survey responses. Duplicate surveys were sometimes submitted by the same person, but most often completed by two different jail leaders and communicated different policies and practices at the same facility. Miscommunication between leadership is problematic, but the reporting of different medical policies and practices by people at the same jail is a broader issue that suggests jail leadership may not know what services they provide. The complexities of jails’ operations alone warrant more research involving jails and the necessity of a National Jails Compendium.

Conclusions

Jails are public institutions, funded by taxpayers who have a reasonable expectation for transparency. Communities surrounding jails should have means of contacting facilities with questions or concerns, as should individuals attempting to find loved ones. People enter and leave jails every day; thus, we must recognize jails as integrated within, not isolated from, community health and other systems. The extensive efforts our team employed to enumerate and locate contact jails reflects a lack of transparency. While the Freedom of Information Act provides a mechanism for any person to request a record from a public institution (FOIA, n.d.), this process is cumbersome and does not guarantee a response.

Research and transparency about jails is not simply about cataloging information; rather, it has implications for daily operations of jails and for humane, safe treatment of incarcerated people. Jails may be apprehensive of participation in research, but research informing best practices is beneficial. Disseminating research findings can help jails across the country learn from other jails, improve their health care services, and better serve the community. Given how many millions of people pass through U.S. jails every year, that the U.S. carceral system disproportionately confines people of color, and that these are public institutions, the comprehensive and accurate study of this vast network of jails is a matter of equity and justice. The Compendium is a critical first step in such jail-focused work.

Availability of data and materials

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the National Institute of Corrections but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of the National Institute of Corrections.

References

  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2018). Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)—Local jail inmates and jail facilities. https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=12

  2. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (n.d.). Data collection: Annual survey of jails. Retrieved January 25, 2021, from https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=261

  3. Chakraborty, R. (2019). Guidelines for conducting meaningful research in jails. National Institute of Justice. https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/guidelines-conducting-meaningful-research-jails

  4. Chari, K. A., Simon, A. E., DeFrances, C. J., & Maruschak, L. M. (2016). National survey of prison health care: Selected findings (no. 96; National Health Statistics Reports, p. 23). National Center for Health Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr096.pdf

  5. FOIA. (n.d.). FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). https://www.foia.gov/

  6. Harris, P. A., Taylor, R., Thielke, R., Payne, J., Gonzalez, N., & Conde, J. G. (2009). Research electronic data capture (REDCap)—A metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 42(2), 377–381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2008.08.010.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Maruschak, L. M. (2016). Medical problems of state and federal prisoners and jail inmates, 2011-12 (NCJ 248491; Bureau of Justice Statistics, p. 23). https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/mpsfpji1112.pdf.

  8. Minton, T. D., Ginder, S., Brumbaugh, S., Smiley-McDonald, H., & Rohloff, H. (2015). Census of Jails: Population Changes, 1999-2013 (NCJ 248627; p. 22). Bureau of Justice Statistics.

  9. Parece, M. S., Herrera, G. A., Voigt, R. F., Middlekauff, S. L., & Irwin, K. L. (1999). STD testing policies and practices in U.S. city and county jails. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 26(8), 431–437. https://doi.org/10.1097/00007435-199909000-00003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Zeng, Z. (2020). Jail inmates in 2018 (NCJ 253044). Bureau of Justice Statistics. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ji18.pdf

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Stephen Amos at the National Institute of Corrections and Carrie Hill, formerly of the National Sheriffs Association, for their assistance with the compendium and study dissemination. Dr. Danielle Rudes would like to thank her undergraduate research assistants at George Mason University for help assembling the Compendium.

Funding

This work was supported by funding from the National Institute of Corrections to Dr. Danielle Rudes; and to Carolyn Sufrin and Camille Kramer from the National Institute on Drug Abuse under Grant NIH/NIDA-5K23DA045934–02. The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

CF and DR managed and created the National Jails Compendium; CF trained research assistants in facility collection. CS and CK designed, administered and analyzed the national jail survey; EB and TP assisted with administering the survey and with data entry. CK managed the survey data. CF and CK took the lead in writing this manuscript, assisted by DR and DS. All authors, CF, CK, DR, DS, EB, and TP, provided critical feedback and assisted in the composition of this manuscript. The authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ information

Not applicable.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chelsea M. A. Foudray.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Foudray, C.M.A., Kramer, C., Rudes, D.S. et al. The Compendium of U.S. jails: creating and conducting research with the first comprehensive contact database of U.S. jails. Health Justice 9, 12 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40352-021-00137-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • U.S. jails
  • National Jails Database
  • National Jails Compendium
  • Pregnancy
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD)