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Nationwide American Indians and Alaska Natives in prison or jail or
under community supervision increased 5.6 percent in 2009

WASHINGTON - The inmate population in Indian country jails increased 1.9 percent between midyear 2008 and 2009, reaching 2,176 offenders, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Indian country jails are operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Eighty Indian country jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities reported inmate counts to BJS in 2009, down from 82 facilities in 2008.

Nationwide, American Indians and Alaska Natives under correctional supervision in the U.S. increased 5.6 percent, from an estimated 75,400 offenders in 2008 to 79,600 in 2009. Nearly two-thirds of the population (63 percent or 50,200) was under supervision in the community on probation or parole in 2009, and about a third (29,400 or 37 percent) was in prison or jail.

Among American Indians and Alaska Natives in prison or jail at midyear 2009, almost half (14,646) were confined in state prison; about 11 percent (3,154) were held in federal prison; and 32 percent (9,400) were in local jails operated by county or municipal authorities. Indian country jails held 7.4 percent of the population under correctional supervision.

About 37 percent of inmates confined in Indian country jails at midyear 2009 were held for a violent offense, down from 41 percent at midyear 2008. Most of the decline was among the population held for domestic violence, which dropped from 15 percent to 12 percent. Domestic violence (12 percent) and simple or aggravated assault (15 percent) accounted for the largest percentage of violent offenders held in 2009, followed by unspecified violent offenses (eight percent) and rape or sexual assault (two percent). The percentage of Indian country jail inmates held for drug offenses was unchanged from 2008 to 2009 (five percent each year). DWI/DUI offenders increased to 11 percent in 2009 from nine percent in 2008.

Indian country jail authorities reported no deaths in custody between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, down from four reported deaths during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2008. Attempted suicides by inmates also declined, from 78 inmates in 2008 to 56 in 2009.

The average daily population in Indian country jails grew from 1,903 inmates in June 2008 to 2,124 in June 2009 (up nearly 12 percent), while the rated capacity (beds available to hold inmates) dropped from 2,963 to 2,891 (down two percent). As a result, the percentage of rated capacity occupied rose from 64 percent to 73 percent. Over a five-year period from June 2004 to June 2009, the rated capacity grew at a faster rate (34 percent) than the growth in the inmate population (25 percent).

During June 2009, the number of inmates admitted to Indian country jails (11,357) was about five times the size of the average daily population (2,124). The number of admissions grew by 1.6 percent in the 79 facilities that reported data on admissions in both June 2009 and June 2008 (11,147).

Inmates in Indian country jails were held an average 5.6 days during June 2009, up from 5.1 days during June 2008. The expected average length of stay for inmates was the highest (9.1 days) in facilities rated to hold 50 or more inmates during June 2009, down from 10.3 days in June 2008. Inmates held in jails rated to hold fewer than 10 inmates had the shortest expected average length of stay (2.1 days).

Seventy-nine Indian country jails that reported on job functions employed 1,332 persons at midyear 2009. About 69 percent (916) of all personnel were jail operations staff, correctional officers or other staff who spent more than 50 percent of their time supervising inmates. Seventy-six facilities reported that 79 percent of correctional officers had received basic detention officer certification, up from 69 percent in 2008 and 63 percent in 2007. Seventy-four facilities reported that 84 percent of correctional officers had received 40 hours of in-service training, up from 74 percent in 2008 and 70 percent in 2007.

The report, Jails in Indian Country, 2009 (NCJ 232223), was written by BJS statistician Todd Minton. Following release, the report can be found at

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics' statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS website at

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at