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Jail Population Data

The Vera Institute of Justice researchers in the In Our Backyards Project began publishing a public version of daily jail data for a large number of jail jurisdictions in May 2020. We are glad to see that others in the field have been able to use this data.

As of March 21, 2022, this daily jail data repository has been closed for maintenance while we improve data collection and quality controls. The data has been taken down for more systematic cleaning and validation.

For access to this data in the meantime, please see the Incarceration Trends website where a quality checked version of this jail data is published with more context.

We expect to publish new data files later in 2022, and they will be made available on a regular basis through the Incarceration Trends github repository.

Please contact Jacob Kang-Brown with any questions, comments, or concerns:

Project History

In response to the novel coronavirus, Vera researchers in the In Our Backyards Project have been publishing jail populations. The most recent available data for each jail jurisdiction is presented in a simple table at the Vera Institute of Justice website along with information on COVID-19 cases. This page provided access to the complete set of jail data since January 1, 2020.

For more information about this data, please see a blog by Chris Henrichson and Oliver Hinds, Use this Data to Hold Your Local Jail Accountable During the Pandemic.

For more information on In Our Backyards, see


This data was automatically collected and pushed out to this file daily at 8pm Eastern Time. The data was updated on the Vera website the following morning. Historical data may change as better information is collected. While Vera researchers conduct data quality assurance, users should seek to verify any dramatic single day change they observe in data. (Please also send information regarding potential errors to

For historical jail populations (1970-2018), see Vera’s incarceration trends dataset.


The variables included in this data were

  • fips: county-level fips code
  • date: date of jail population
  • jail_population: number of people incarcerated in the jail
  • county: county, city or parish name
  • state: state name
  • urbanicity: urbanicity of county (urban county, suburban county in large metro area, county in small to mid-sized metro area, or rural county)
  • reporting_jurisdictions: name of the reporting jail jurisdictions
  • resident_population: all ages resident population of county for July 1, 2019
  • jail_incarceration_rate_per_100k: rate of jail incarceration per 100,000 residents


This data was collected from multiple sources. The sourcing CSV file indicated the source(s) for each county. A key to the values in that file follows:

  • auto: Collected automatically directly from jail jurisdictions.
  • jdi: Collected by the NYU Public Safety Lab.
  • state: Collected automatically from a central source at the state-level.
  • manual: Collected manually by one of the researchers in the list below.

Collecting manual data involved the efforts of Darby Aono, Collin Blinder, Jasmine Heiss, Christian Henrichson, Oliver Hinds, Indiana Public Defender Council, Jacob Kang-Brown, Sarah Minion, Clay Mosher, Jack Norton, Michelle Parris, Eital Schattner-Elmaleh, Maurice Smith, and James Wallace-Lee.


By downloading the data, you agreed to all of the terms specified in this license.


If you have questions, please contact Jacob Kang-Brown at

The Vera Institute of Justice works to build and create justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.


Public release of up-to-date jail population counts.







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