, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 373-386

Identifying possible sources of inmate crowding in U.S. jails

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This note presents results from an aggregate-level study of several possible correlates of inmate crowding in county jails during 1983 (n=505) and 1988 (n=522). Findings revealed that jurisdiction variables (court caseload, degree of urbanism) and state variables (sentencing practices, degree of prison inmate crowding) are at least as significant as jail variables (type of standards, frequency of inspections, enforcement system for standards, inmate population composition) for predicting the degree of inmate crowding. This suggests that policies designed to reduce crowding should be sophisticated enough to account for the possible effects of all three groups of variables.