BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Prison population counts
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The main source for annual prisoner counts is the National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) Program data collection, which began in 1926 under a mandate from Congress to collect statistics on prisoners. The NPS distinguishes between custody and jurisdiction prison populations (see Terms and Definitions for more information). Imprisonment rates refer to the number of persons under the jurisdiction, or legal authority, of state or federal correctional officers per 100,000 U.S. residents. When prison populations are combined with local jail counts, they are referred to as the incarcerated population, and the incarceration rate is the number of persons in prison or jail per 100,000 U.S. residents.

NPS also gathers data on the number of prisoners admitted to and released from prison each year, imprisonment rates for prisoners sentenced to more than 1 year, race and sex distributions, and the number of non-U.S. citizens and inmates age 17 or younger held in custody. BJS uses offender-level administrative data from the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) and the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP) to calculate age and offense distributions of the state and federal prison populations.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Prisoners in 2013 IN 2013 THE STATE PRISON POPULATION ROSE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2009
 
Part of the Prisoners Series

Prisoners in 2013 Presents final counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 2013, collected by the National Prisoner Statistics Program.
  Press Release | PDF (2.1M) | ASCII file (80K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 54K)
Part of the Prisoners Series

Federal Justice Statistics, 2010 Describes the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes associated with the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment, using data from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
  PDF (4.3M) | ASCII file (67K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 183K)
Part of the Federal Justice Statistics Series

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012 Summarizes data from various correctional collections to provide statistics on the number of offenders supervised by the adult correctional systems in the U.S. Adult correctional systems include offenders supervised in the community under the authority of probation or parole agencies and inmates held in state and federal prisons or local jails.
  Press Release | PDF (766K) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 15K)
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012 TOTAL U.S. CORRECTIONAL POPULATION DECLINED IN 2012 FOR FOURTH YEAR
  Press Release
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Prisoners in 2012: Trends in Admissions and Releases, 1991-2012 TOTAL U.S. CORRECTIONAL POPULATION DECLINED IN 2012 FOR FOURTH YEAR
  Press Release
Part of the Prisoners Series

Prisoners in 2012: Trends in Admissions and Releases, 1991-2012 (Revised) Presents final counts on prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 2012, collected in the National Prisoner Statistics Program.
  Press Release | PDF (2M) | ASCII file (44K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 36K)
Part of the Prisoners Series

Prisoners in 2012 - Advance Counts Presents advance counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 2012, collected in the National Prisoner Statistics Program.
  Press Release | PDF (1.1M) | ASCII file (33K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 18K)
Part of the Prisoners Series

Prisoners in 2011 Presents data on prisoners under the jurisdiction of federal and state correctional authorities on December 31, 2011, collected from the National Prisoner Statistics series.
  Press Release | PDF (1M) | ASCII file (55K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 45K)
Part of the Prisoners Series

Prisoners in 2011 PRISON POPULATION DECLINED IN 26 STATES DURING 2011
  Press Release
Part of the Prisoners Series

Terms & Definitions

Custody To have custody of a prisoner, a state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must physically hold that person in one of its facilities. A locality, state, or the BOP may hold inmates over whom a different government maintains jurisdiction.
 
Custody count The number of offenders in custody. To have custody of a prisoner, a state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must physically hold that person in one of its facilities. A locality, state, or the BOP may have custody of a prisoner over whom a different government maintains jurisdiction.
 
Design capacity The number of inmates that planners or architects intended for the facility.
 
Federal prisons Prison facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Prisoners housed in these facilities are under the legal authority of the federal government. This excludes private facilities under exclusive contract with BOP.
 
Imprisoned population The population of inmates confined in prison or other facilities under the jurisdiction of the state or Federal Bureau of Prisons.