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Expand or expire: jails in rural America.

The study of small or rural jails is challenged by two distinct biases. First, there is a tendency to overlook the importance of jail operations in American criminal justice systems--despite the fact that more than 1 million adult arrestees pass through these facilities every month. Originally intended for the short-term detention of individuals awaiting court appearances, jails have evolved into a default mechanism in the absence of community-based mental health or addictions services, and increasingly, they are holding diverse groups of inmates for longer periods of time. James (2004) reports that some jail inmates have been held in local correctional facilities for periods of years. In some cases, these inmates are state inmates awaiting transfer, detainees held for the federal government, or individuals who serve long periods of pretrial detention and periods of jail incarceration afterward.

A second bias is the mainstream academic focus on crime and justice in urban areas. In some cases, this is a consequence of the stereotypes about rural life and perceptions about a peaceful rural existence (Weisheit and Donnermeyer, 2000). As a result, when jails are studied, investigators tend to examine larger facilities. One might realistically ask whether there is anything interesting that occurs in jails of 100 or fewer beds. However, these small facilities have a set of problems that are as challenging as their larger counterparts, and rural counties typically have fewer resources to respond to these challenges (Ruddell, 2005b).

Small jails cope with problems that are similar to larger jails, such as sizeable percentages of special needs inmates, suicide and violence, litigation prospects, difficulty in recruiting and retaining jail staff, and crowding (Ruddell, 2005b). However, unlike large jails, small facilities labor under several additional constraints. In most cases, county sheriffs operate rural jails, and the political nature of these officials often dictates how their jails operate (Kerle, 2003). Rural sheriffs often function with considerable discretion and, traditionally, little oversight. In the past, some local sheriffs conducted their law enforcement operations like personal "fiefdoms" and political patronage was common (Handberg and Unkovic, 1982).

Another disadvantage for rural jails is that their operations draw from a small or disadvantaged tax base, in many cases, poor counties. In the most recent national jail census, Stephan (2001) found that facilities of fewer than 100 beds operated less efficiently than their larger counterparts. They have a higher percentage of unoccupied beds and the ratio of inmates per employee in small jails tends to be higher (see Perkins, Stephan and Beck, 1995). Further, Kellar (2001) reports that small jails cannot take advantage of bulk purchasing or employee specialization. They also may not be able to draw many resources from their communities. Mays and Thompson (1988) observed that a lack of community support contributes to the inappropriate use of incarceration, longer jail stays and the use of jail as a "default option" if other services do not exist.

Despite all this, these small jails still persist, although there have been social changes in rural America, including increased drug use and manufacture, the presence of gangs, increasing population heterogeneity, and the "spillover" of crime from surrounding urban areas, which have changed the types of people admitted to these jails. In addition, small facilities have not been immune to inmate litigation nor excepted from abiding by the jail standards imposed by state legislators.

Nevertheless, small jails are disappearing. There are 1,000 fewer small jails today than there were two decades ago, but there is little understanding of the reasons for this trend. This study responds to this gap in the corrections literature by examining national-level trends in the prevalence of small jails, and it reports the results from a survey of 213 sheriffs, jail administrators and jail commanders about crowding, plans for expansion and partnerships with other facilities.

Rural Jails

There is comparatively little consensus about what constitutes a small jail. Mays and Thompson (1988) defined small as 10 beds or fewer in their study, Kerle (1998, 2003) observed that jails of 50 or fewer beds were small, and the National Institute of Corrections now defines small jails as having 150 beds or fewer. Given these definitions, for this study, the midpoint of 100 beds was used as the benchmark classification for small jails. Although such definitions of what constitutes a small jail seem to have changed over time, many of these facilities are disappearing. Table 1 outlines the changes in the size of American jails and reveals that in two decades, the number of jails with between 10 and 50 beds dropped by half (see also Kerle, 2003).

Small jails are most often located in rural areas, although there is some dispute about what constitutes "rural." It can be defined in a number of ways, and definitions always include some indicator of population density or distribution. In this study, the terms rural and small are used somewhat interchangeably, as most (but not all) small jails are located in counties best described as rural, and the limitations of this approach are acknowledged.

Current knowledge of small jails is hampered by the fact that only a few articles have been published in the past two decades about small jails. All of these studies have underscored the challenges of operating these smaller facilities. Three early works about small jails appear in an edited volume on rural crime (see Katsampes, 1982; Kerle, 1982; Miller, 1982). While taking different methodological approaches, all of these investigators found that jail operations were plagued by insufficient staff and low pay offered by impoverished counties (Kerle, 1982), ineffective jail managers (Miller, 1982), and a lack of comprehensive criminal justice planning, written policies or procedures, alternatives to incarceration, staff development and jail standards (Katsampes, 1982). Rural jail administrators also were thought to be somewhat isolated from current practice, and their job responsibilities often extended beyond the jail.

Later studies found similar deficiencies in the operation of small jails. Kimme (1985) placed some of the blame on jail administrators who ran their facilities without regard for standards or accreditation and those who failed to take advantage of resources such as NIC. Additionally, Mays and Thompson (1988) found that most small jails were older than their larger counterparts, had less space per inmate than newer jails, and were less likely to have sight and sound separation for juveniles (or females from males), medical facilities or an infirmary.

Although not a study of small jails, per se, Kellar's (2001) analysis of survey data from Texas county jail administrators provides considerable insight into some problems with smaller facilities. At the time of this survey, there were 139 institutions of fewer than 50 beds. Key issues identified in this study were the low officers' wages in the small facilities and the fact that the smallest jails were unlikely to use volunteers to provide rehabilitative programs such as religious services or addictions programs. This research also acknowledged the growing problem of providing adequate mental and physical health care for jail inmates.

Ruddell (2005c) reported that jail operations in rural areas were constrained by high levels of special needs populations, including people with mental illness, repeat jail offenders (those individuals with more than 20 admissions in the previous five years), as well as long-term inmates (individuals who had been incarcerated in the jail for more than one year). In addition to special needs populations, this study of small jails also found that crowding, an inability to recruit and retain jail officers, and budget constraints were the most significant challenges. However, jail administrators were less likely to perceive jail suicides or violence as significant problems.

For the most part, the previously cited studies draw upon research done several decades ago, but all of these scholars reported common themes. First, small jails were challenged by both facility size and their geographic locations. In addition, a universal concern was how a lack of funding constrained jail operations. Finally, all of the previous work suggested that staffing was a critical problem--low wages, employee turnover and inadequate training for correctional officers were all problematic for jail administrators. Given these findings, the present study examines how small jails are increasingly forced to either "expand or expire."

Characteristics of The National Jail Sample

In January 2005, surveys were sent to 361 jails with a rated capacity of 100 beds or fewer. An original sample of 400 jails was selected randomly from a directory of 1,775 jails of fewer than 100 beds (American Jail Association, 2003). The 39 cases excluded from the study involved facilities that had closed, several jails that had grown beyond the 100-bed upper boundary and, in some instances, surveys that were returned unopened. Further, some jail administrators declined to participate. In almost every case, members of the survey team spoke directly with sheriffs, administrators or jail commanders to encourage their participation prior to sending the survey instrument. In about half of the cases, a survey was faxed directly to the respondent, and the remaining surveys were mailed.

A second wave of surveys was sent to jails that did not respond within two months. Ultimately, 213 surveys were received, which equates to a response rate of 59 percent. Administrators who received the survey by fax typically returned them promptly, and the response rate was somewhat better than instruments that were mailed. In order to assess whether there was any form of systematic bias in the sample, both the respondents and nonrespondents were tracked. The average rated capacity of the jails from which a response was received was 43.1 beds, and those that did not respond had a capacity of 44.3, which suggests that there was no significant difference in the size of facilities where administrators had completed a survey and where they did not participate.

Ultimately, jails in 43 states ranging in size from four to 99 beds responded. The mean population for the counties or places that were home to the jail was 21,684, which suggests that most of the nation's jails are located in rural counties and small towns. (In a few cases, jails were operated by cities rather than counties.) The responding jails averaged 40 years of age, and the oldest facility was constructed in 1803. The mean capacity of these facilities was 43.1 beds, and the average daily population was 39.9 inmates. Each responding jail admitted approximately 1,101 inmates per year, or roughly three people per day. Although these statistics reveal that these small facilities typically operate at less than their capacity, it is plausible that crowding might occur during weekends, which typically have a greater number of admissions. Another factor that contributes to crowding is the necessity of providing single cells or separate housing for some jail inmates, such as those with mental illness, women or juveniles. Such practices may produce crowding even though the jail might not be running at 100 percent of its rated capacity. As a result, the classification of offenders may contribute to crowding, especially in small jails that do not have separate housing units.

The cost to hold an inmate may reflect something about the priorities of a given jail, as well as the local economic conditions. The mean cost to operate a facility was $49.10 per inmate per day; however, the range was extensive--from $10 to $176. Some of this variation may be attributed to different methods of calculating the costs (see Edelman and Mayer, 1997; Kellar, 2001). Kerle (1998) estimates that 75 percent of jail incarceration costs are staffing-related, but this total depends somewhat on the ratio of inmates per correctional officer. Mays and Thompson (1988) note that, "small jails must provide some services and must employ certain personnel whether the average daily population is one, 10 or more."

The responding jails represented a diverse range of facilities, but there were a few limitations in the sample. Most of the respondents came from the Midwest and South, and only 13 responses were received from the Northeast. Because of the integrated jail-prison systems in some Northeastern states (e.g., Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont), there were fewer jails with fewer than 100 beds. Moreover, the states in the Northeast tend to have large, urban populations. In some cases, only a few jails from the entire state fell within the parameters of the study, and these facilities were missed in the random selection of cases. Thus, the generalizability of these findings may be tempered somewhat by the lack of cases from the Northeast.

Expansion, Partnerships And Possibilities

Jails do not operate in isolation, but are integral parts of local justice systems. These facilities are overwhelmingly operated by local sheriffs. These sheriffs form relationships with justice officials from other local, state and federal jurisdictions. Table 3 reports the results from a series of questions about expansion, regionalization, partnerships and relationships with other governments. Almost one-quarter of respondents (24.4 percent) reported that their jails were slated for expansion in the next two years. The median size of the expansion was 62 beds, indicating that many of these jails will increase to more than 100 beds in the foreseeable future. Most administrators had agreements with other jails to take some of their inmates if crowding occurred. This suggests that levels of cooperation between sheriffs and other counties are high. Kerle (1998) reports that, in many cases, "Facilities have become regionalized after a handshake with a sheriff who agrees to hold the prisoners of a county or several adjacent counties." However, steps to formalize regionalization into a single facility may be less successful.

Regionalization refers to the consolidation of several smaller jails from different counties in order to take advantage of economies of scale, reduce overall incarceration costs and remove the burden of jail incarceration from county oversight. In some cases, county administrators feel that it is more cost-effective to pay the daily cost if another jail houses their inmates. In other places, regionalization may be preferable when jails in adjacent counties are severely crowded, antiquated or need to be updated or replaced. For example, it might be feasible to build a single 200-bed facility to replace several crowded 20- to 30-bed facilities from adjacent counties.

States such as Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia have actively supported the regionalization of jails (Dennis, 1998; Kerle, 1998; Paquette, 1987). West Virginia, for instance, has provided financial incentives in order to consolidate jail operations. Yet, many sheriffs are resistant to such practices, as they would have to relinquish some of their political power and influence by losing budget dollars and personnel. Davis et al., (2004) also observe how jail operations have a significant effect on the entire local justice system, and changing the jail's location has an impact on all local stakeholders--creating another barrier to change.

Administrators were asked whether they had been involved in discussions about regionalization. Slightly more than one-third of respondents reported that such talks had occurred. However, of the respondents who reported engaging in such conversations, only 10 percent said that such events were likely. In fact, one sheriff wrote in the margin of the survey that regionalization would not occur, "if I can help it!" Thus, although it may make sense to engage in cooperative agreements to reduce the number of jails and increase efficiency, regionalization may be a concept that is more attractive theoretically than practically. Although decisions about the best use of criminal justice resources should be based on the effectiveness of the intervention, such comments reflect the political nature of criminal justice interventions.

Harrison and Beck (2006) reported that approximately 5 percent of all jail inmates were awaiting transfer to state prison systems, and most of this population was housed in the South. Fifty-two percent of the sample of jails held inmates for their state prison system. Interestingly, the mean cost of holding inmates was reported to be $49.10 per day, although respondents reported that they received an average $35.10 per day from the state. Thus, it appears as though holding these inmates could be a money-losing proposition. The significance of this finding is tempered somewhat by the fact that many of the respondents did not complete this question or were not aware of state compensation levels.

Rural Jail Policy Options

There were 2,821 jails of fewer than 100 beds in 1982, and this had decreased to 1,775 by 2003. Historically, these jails were characterized by crowding, operational problems and, in many cases, poorly trained or supervised staff (Katsampes, 1982; Kimme, 1985; Miller, 1982); antiquated facilities (Mays and Thompson, 1988); and often they provided substandard care due to impoverished county budgets (Kerle, 1982). Recent studies show that little has changed (Kellar, 2001; Ruddell, 2005b). Of the jails that remain, one major goal of rural justice systems is to make these jails cost-effective, staffing them with long-term professional officers and providing a safe and secure environment by crafting programs and interventions that serve special needs inmates. These strategies benefit all stakeholders within rural justice systems, from inmates and their families to taxpayers who fund such agencies.

Rural jails, like those in urban areas, have little control over the types of people they admit or their funding levels. But, by operating in a more cost-effective manner with professional career detention officers, much can be gained. Moreover, expanding facilities can enable them to construct specialized units for inmates with mental illnesses, an approach that reduces stress on jail inmates and officers alike (Ruddell, 2006). As a result, it might be possible that consolidating or expanding jail operations might enable local governments to take advantage of economies of scale. There are a number of different options for making jails more efficient, although adopting any of these strategies might depend on the history of the jurisdiction and the influences of local politics. The following paragraphs outline a number of policy-related options that have been implemented in some jurisdictions.

Regionalization. NIC (1992) lists the barriers to regionalization, including differences in philosophies, management styles, perceptions of inequities, increased transportation costs, location disagreements and absence of legal authority to permit resource-sharing. All of these issues are important, but two seem to be especially noteworthy: losses in county autonomy and inmate transportation costs. The first problem is political in nature, and only can be solved by an awareness of the problems that small jails confront--their relative inefficiency; the danger that they pose to inmates and a corresponding exposure to lawsuits during litigious times; and long-term costs, especially in terms of health care. Once a county loses its jail, it also loses jobs and autonomy, and to some extent, the sheriffs power is eroded. This problem is also related to the issues of location disagreement and can lead to perceptions of inequities. The location of a new regional jail has a significant impact on travel and convenience, which in turn may lead to feelings of unfairness. Consequently, any move toward regionalization must include local sheriffs and requires their support. Some have speculated that as long as elected sheriffs control the keys to the cell door, this is unlikely to occur (see Kerle, 1998).

The second major obstacle to regionalization is inmate transportation costs. As Mays and Thompson (1988) observed, many states with a high number of small jails "suffer not only from small populations but from exceedingly great distances between population centers." Edelman and Mayer (1997) found that transportation cost is a key stumbling block to regional jail operations, adding approximately $11 to the daily cost of inmate housing. Transporting inmates an additional 30 miles, for example, is not only costly, but also takes a deputy off the road for an additional hour for the return trip, with a concurrent reduction in public safety.

State-Operated Jails. The United States is one of the few first-world nations where local governments hold pretrial detainees or those sentenced to short terms of incarceration. State, provincial or federal governments cover the costs of pretrial detention and incarceration in most countries. There are numerous advantages to such arrangements and six states already have opted for integrated jail-prison systems. Mays and Thompson (1988) outlined how state-operated jails take advantage of centralized administration, merit hiring and increased correctional officer professionalism, minimized political influence, standardization of services, and improved jail conditions. Many of the rural states that could benefit most from state-run jails are similar to sparsely populated Canadian provinces that provide both jail detention and incarceration.

Mays and Thompson (1988) observed that state-operated jails may have the unintended consequence of increasing the incarceration rate. For example, in some communities, prosecutors may not vigorously prosecute some offenders during times when the local jail is crowded (Edelman and Mayer, 1997). If local prosecutors believe that the state could provide unlimited bed space for minor offenders, it is possible that they would be more punitive. As a result, increasing capacity might increase county incarceration rates.

Alternatives to Incarceration. Many jurisdictions have implemented alternatives to incarceration programs. Harrison and Beck (2006) reported that at midyear 2005, "jail authorities supervised 9 percent of these offenders (71,905) in alternative programs outside the jail facilities" in weekender programs, electronic monitoring, home detention, day reporting, community service, pretrial supervision, or other work or treatment programs. Such interventions underscore the ingenuity of local justice systems to respond to crowding, although in some jail crowding cases, more liberal release on recognizance policies for nonviolent offenders realistically might relieve some tension on jail crowding.

Moreover, respondents estimated that an average inmate sentenced to a one-year term in the local jail would serve almost nine months (see Table 2). Shortening the average length of jail incarceration or blending jail and intermediate sanctions (such as intensive supervised probation) also might reduce the crowding pressure on local corrections. In some large jurisdictions, sentences are greatly discounted. For example, in 2006, an offender sentenced to a year at the Los Angeles County Jail would serve approximately 10 percent of that sentence (Pfeifer, 2006). Of course, such strategies are politically unpopular, but in the case of Los Angeles, the alternative was to add another 10,000 beds to its jail system in order to provide space for inmates to serve their entire sentence, and the taxpayers have been reluctant to pay for these costs.

Expanding Capacity in Local Jails. One alternative to regionalization occurs when entrepreneurial sheriffs or administrators expand jail capacity in order to take inmates from other jurisdictions. Local jails have long held inmates for the federal government (see Fishman, 1923). Moreover, the expansion in the detention of illegal immigrants after Sept. 11, 2001, has created a lucrative market for some jails with extra bed space. Montgomery (2000) reports how one enterprising Maryland jail received $50 per day to hold Immigration and Naturalization Service (now Homeland Security) detainees, while it cost the county only 817.89 to supervise each inmate. Thus, the jail has the possibility to become a moneymaker in some locations. Kerle (1998) says that many small county jails have closed and counties now purchase bed space from sheriffs in adjacent counties. One problem with running jails as revenue-generating enterprises is that such operations historically have led to inmate abuse or squalid conditions. One unintended long-term result of many entrepreneurial approaches is that some jails could find themselves at increased risk for inmate litigation (Schlanger, 2003).

Harrison and Beck (2006) reported that almost 10 percent of the individuals held in local jails at midyear 2005 were state prison inmates awaiting transfer. In some cases, offenders spend years in local jails (James, 2004). In states such as Tennessee, inmates can serve much of their prison sentences in a local jail (Ruddell, 2005a). The long-term care of prison inmates poses an interesting challenge for both inmates and jail administrators. In some cases, inmates may want to stay close to home, especially if a transfer to a state prison hundreds of miles away results in fewer family visits. Yet, the disadvantage to holding long-term jail inmates is that jails sometimes provide few rehabilitative opportunities, so taxpayers get a poor value for the dollars they spend on incarceration.

One of the ironies in rural America is that at the same time local jail operations in many jurisdictions were closing and consolidating, other rural communities attempted to attract prison construction--replacing one dimension of social control for another--despite the fact that some of these new prisons were never opened and other rural prisons closed (Wilhelm and Turner, 2002). King, Mauer and Huling (2003) question whether building prisons in rural communities ever created the type of economic development that county promoters hoped, or whether contracts went to out-of-town corporations and correctional officer positions were filled by officers who transferred from other institutions or surrounding counties. In fact, King et al. (2003) contend that residents of many rural counties were often deemed to be ineligible for correctional jobs, and inmates from the prisons sometimes filled the low-paying jobs that county residents once held. Fraser (2000) also notes that social problems, such as increases in domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and hard drug use, sometimes accompany prisons built in rural areas as the families of inmates and officers--who are often from urban areas--move into the community.

Privatization. Some jurisdictions have abandoned county-operated facilities by contracting out jail services. Stephan (2001) found that the number of inmates in privately operated jails increased throughout the 1990s. By 1999, 47 jails, which held a total of 16,656 inmates, were run by private operators. There has been considerable debate about the ethical problems of "punishing for profit" (see Mays and Gray, 1996). In addition, there has been some dispute over whether these facilities have been as cost-efficient (or rehabilitative) as promised. As a result, it remains to be seen whether the number of inmates held in these types of facilities will continue to increase.

One of the challenges of proprietary jail enterprises is that profits often result from reducing officers' salaries (which account for about 75 percent of all operational costs). In order to increase profits, these corporations reduce costs, including officer wages. As a result, the agency remains stuck in a constant cycle of recruiting, hiring, training and replacing officers. It is hard to recruit effective detention officers who want to work for little pay, and many only stay until a better job becomes available. Kerle (2003) argues that paying jail deputies more than patrol deputies is a strategy that reduces this chaos. Only a small percentage of all sheriff's departments have adopted this approach, despite the fact that there may be significant long-term cost savings in reduced training and officer retention.

Discussion And Conclusions

Rural jails are hamstrung by their size and the realities of rural geography and economics. Too small to take advantage of economies of scale or to offer specialized programs for special needs populations, they are forced to "make do." There are few attractive policy options for small jails. Approximately 10 percent of the respondents reported that their jurisdiction was likely to participate in a regional jail arrangement within the next few years. Extrapolating this estimate to the entire population of 1,775 jails of fewer than 100 beds within the United States in 2003 suggests that at least another 177 rural jails will disappear. Moreover, 24.4 percent of the respondents indicated that their facilities would be increasing in size during the next two years. The mean size of expansion was 83 beds, but the median value of 62 beds might be a more useful statistic as several large jail expansions skewed these results. Given these two Findings, it is expected that the number of small jails will continue to decrease. If both of these estimates are correct, there will still be about 1,115 jails of fewer than 100 beds in the year 2010.

The prevailing trend in rural American jails seems to be "expand or expire." Although administrators were not asked about the motivations for such expansion, this study prompts the question of whether increasing the number of beds is intended to address the problem of crowding or whether expanding the capacity of a jail is motivated by the possibility of contracts with other jurisdictions (holding state prison inmates, Homeland Security detainees or federal inmates). Also, jails tend to offer more rehabilitative programs as their size increases (see Kellar, 2001; Stephan, 2001). As a result, regionalization and larger jails may provide more opportunities for inmates to participate in treatment programs, as well as other formal educational or vocational programs. The authors speculate that when jails increase their capacity this may result in offering more rehabilitative programs.

The downside to increasing jail capacity is that rural communities might see an expansion in the use of incarceration. Jail incarceration rates in some jurisdictions seem to be a function of capacity. Prosecutors may be less willing to argue for custodial sentences during times of jail crowding, and judges may be less likely to sentence a minor offender to a term of jail incarceration (see Edelman and Mayer, 1997). Thus, expansion of capacity may result in a corresponding increase in individuals sentenced. As a result, the plans to expand capacity of a given jail must carefully consider the economic costs and benefits (Edelman and Mayer, 1997) and the effect on local justice systems (Davis et al., 2004). In the end, short of converting to state-run or regional jail systems, each small jail must develop a strategy to expand or expire. As Kellar (2001) notes, the study of a given jail's circumstances must be understood within the context of the administrative, political, cultural and operational nuances of a given location. These factors ultimately shape the survival of a particular jail.

REFERENCES

American Jail Association. 2003. Who's who in jail management. Hagerstown, Md.: American Jail Association.

Davis, R.K, B.K. Applegate, C.W. Otto, R. Surette and B.J. McCarthy. 2004. Roles and responsibilities: Analyzing local leaders' views on jail crowding from a systems perspective. Crime and Delinquency, 50(3):458-482.

Dennis, J. 1998. Cooperation works: Six Ohio jurisdictions join forces to create regional jail. Corrections Today, 60(6):128-129, 140.

Edelman, M.A. and A.J. Mayer. 1997. A cost analysis of county jails by size in rural Iowa to inform state policy and community decisions. Retrieved July 21, 2006, from www.econ. iastate.edu/research/abstracts/NDN0050.html.

Fishman, J.F. 1923. Crucibles of crime: The shocking story of the American jail. Montclair, N.J.: Patterson Smith.

Fraser, J. 2000. An American seduction: Portrait of a prison town. Michigan Quarterly Review, 39(4):775-780.

Handberg, R. and C.M. Unkovic. 1982. Changing patterns in rural law enforcement:

The county sheriff as a case study. In Criminal justice in rural America, ed. S. Cronk, 69-80. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

Harrison, P.M. and A.J. Beck. 2006. Prison and jail inmates at midyear 2005. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

James, D.J. 2004. Profile of jail inmates, 2002. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Katsampes, P.A. 1982. A national strategy for change in rural jails. In Criminal justice in rural America, ed. S. Cronk, 231-248. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

Kellar, M. 2001. Texas county jails, 2001: A status report. Retrieved July 21, 2006, from www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/Final%20DraftTJSbu. pdf.

Kerle, K.E. 1982. The rural jail: Its people, problems and solutions. In Criminal justice in rural America ed. S. Cronk, 189-204. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

Kerle, K.E. 1998. American jails. Looking to the future. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Kerle, K.E. 2003. Exploring jail operations. Hagerstown, Md.: American Jail Association.

Kimme, D.A. 1985. The nature of new small jails: Report and analysis. Longmont, Colo.: National Institute of Corrections.

King, R.S., M. Mauer and T. Huling. 2003. Big prisons, small towns: Prison economics in rural America. Washington, D.C.: Sentencing Project.

Mays, G.L. and T. Gray. 1996. Privatization and the provision of correctional services: Context and consequences. Cincinnati: Anderson Press.

Mays, G.L. and J.A. Thompson. 1988. Mayberry revisited: The characteristics and operations of America's small jails. Justice Quarterly, 5(3):421-440.

Miller, R. 1982. A needs assessment for small jails in the United States. In Criminal justice in rural America, ed. S. Cronk, 205-229. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

Montgomery, L. 2000. Rural jails profiting from INS detainees. The Washington Post, Nov. 24, p. A01.

National Institute of Corrections. 1992. Briefing paper: Regional jails. Boulder, Colo.: National Institute of Corrections.

Paquette, P. 1987. The nuts and bolts of implementing the regional jail concept. American Jails, Vol. 1 (Fall):42-45.

Perkins, C.A., J.J. Stephan and A.J. Beck. 1995. Jails and jail inmates, 1993-94. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Pfeifer, S. 2006. Sheriff's foes zero in on early release issue. Los Angeles Times, June 3, p. B3.

Ruddell, R. 2005a. Long-term jail populations: A national assessment. American Jails, Vol. 19 (March/April):22-27.

Ruddell, R. 2005b. Mayberry revisited: The challenges confronting America's small jails. Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology 2005 Annual Meeting, 16-19 November, in Toronto.

Ruddell. 2006. Jail interventions for inmates with mental illnesses. Journal of Correctional Health Care, 12(2):118-131.

Schlanger, M. 2003. Inmate litigation. Harvard Law Review, 11(4):1557-1704.

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Weisheit, R.A. and J.F. Donnermeyer. 2000. Change and continuity in crime in rural America. Retrieved July 21, 2006, from www.ncjrs.gov/criminal_justice2000/vol_1/ 02g.pdf.

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Rick Ruddell is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Chico. G. Larry Mays is a regents professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at New Mexico State University.
Table 1. Disappearing Small Jails, 1982-2003

Number of Beds 10 or Fewer 50 or Fewer Fewer than 100

1982 * 355 2,469 2,821
1991 ** 320 1,988 --
1994 ** -- 1,739 --
2003 ** 171 1,202 1,775

* Source: National Sheriffs' Association

** Source: American Jail Association

Table 2. Small Jail Characteristics:
Survey of Jails Fewer Than 100 Beds, 2005

Jails 213
States * 43
Avg. Population (County or City) 21,684 (sd. = 18,929)
Incarceration Rate 212 (sd. = 169)
 (100,000 residents) **

Facility Characteristics Mean (sd.) Range
Facility age (years) 40.0 (sd. 31.7) 4-202
Mean rated capacity (beds) 43.1 (sd. 25.3) 4-99
Average daily population 39.9 (sd. 27.0) 1-134
Average sentence served (months) 9 (sd. 2.44) 1-12
Mean rated capacity 85.1 (sd. 36.1) 12-240
Mean daily cost (dollars) 49.1 (sd. 29.2) 10-176
Mean annual admissions 1,101.0 (sd. 986.0) 25-5,200
Total rated capacity (beds) 9,172.0

* There was no identifying data for four jails.

** The incarceration rate was calculated for the county using
the jail's average daily population.

Table 3. Future Expansion Plans, Survey of Jails
Fewer Than 100 Beds, 2005 *

Planning on Expansion in Next Two Years 24.4 percent
Median Increased Capacity (Planned) 62 beds
Had Discussions About Regional Jails 35.9 percent
Are Regional Jails Likely? 9.9 percent
Arrangements With Other Jails for Crowding 72.6 percent

* Unless otherwise noted, the percentage of respondents
giving affirmative responses.
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Date:Nov 1, 2006
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