New BJS Data Reveals a Jail-Building Boom on Tribal Land
Date:  11-10-2020

Expanding more jails incarceration led to more incarceration and as a result, more overcrowding
From Prison Policy Initiative:

New data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the number of jails in Indian country has risen rapidly in recent years, from 68 jails in 2000 to 84 in 2018 (an increase of almost 24%). The number of people in Indian country jails has also grown — by over 1,000 people, or about 60% — even though the total number of people living in these areas has hardly changed.

The rapid expansion of jail space in Indian country — that is, on tribal lands — holds with a recent nationwide trend. Jail populations have skyrocketed over the past three decades, leading first to overcrowding, and then to sheriffs announcing that they need to build more jails to alleviate overcrowding. But as we’ve previously discussed, while new jails might make existing jails less crowded in the short term, they can enable more incarceration in the long term. And in Indian country, it appears that they have.

As of 2018, 35% of Indian country jails are still holding more people than they were designed for. Compare this number to the 34% of Indian country jails that were above capacity in 2013: The share of overcrowded jails has actually increased slightly over the last several years. Continue reading >>>