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Inmate Population in Indian Country Jails Increased 1.9 Percent in 2009

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The numbers were in a little on the high side as the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics announced the inmate population in Indian country jails increased 1.9 percent between midyear 2008 and 2009. The news came upon the release of the BJS report, Jails in Indian Country.

The jails, operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, dropped in number from 82 to 80 between that span.

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) were in prison or jail.

Among AI/AN 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.

Violent offenses led the survey for inmates confined with 37 percent, down 5 percent though. The decline came from the domestic violence population, which dropped from 15 to 12 percent. Domestic violence (12 percent) and simple or aggravated assault (15 percent) led the way for violent offenders.

Those held for drug offenses was unchanged at five percent. DWI/DUI offenses increased from nine to 11 percent.

The report, was written by BJS statistician Todd Minton and will be available at