Who is in the Marion County Jail? Exploring Length of Stay through an Equity Lens

Report by SAVI
June 10, 2022

The Polis Center   (Indianapolis)

This report analyzes more than 283,000 bookings into Marion County’s jails between 2013 and 2021. This data was used to discover how many people are in jail, the characteristics of those in jail, and how long people remain in jail.

This dataset spans nine years. In that time, state laws changed who was sent to local jails, state judicial policy introduced a risk-based diversion system, Indianapolis’ police force and prosecutors piloted new crisis response teams and changed how some offenses were charged, and the COVID-19 pandemic upended the criminal justice system. Trends are examined over time to learn if there are changes in the jail population after these many policy changes and events.

On average, between 2013 and 2021, there were 2,257 people held in Marion County’s jails. Scroll through the timeline below to see how the jail census count changed over time, and the characteristics of those jailed daily.

Using jail booking data, using booking dates between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2021 and release dates before March 29, 2022, they calculated who was in jail each day. These numbers capture a population omitted from the daily jail census – those who were jailed for less than one day. The booking data provides a useful look at the demographics of people in jail and the kinds of charges for which they are incarcerated.