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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014                  Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 202-598-9320


Federal prison population declined for first time since 1980

WASHINGTON – U.S. state and federal prisons held an estimated 1,574,700 inmates on December 31, 2013, an increase of 4,300 prisoners over yearend 2012, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. This was the first increase in the state prison population reported since 2009.

While the state prison population increased by about 6,300 during 2013, the federal prison population decreased by approximately 1,900 inmates. This was the first decline in the federal prison population since 1980.

Prisoners sentenced to more than a year in state or federal prison increased by 5,400 persons from yearend 2012 to yearend 2013. States added 6,900 sentenced inmates in 2013, while the number of sentenced federal inmates decreased by 1,500.

The number of sentenced prisoners grew in 27 states, including three of the four states with the largest prison populations: Texas (up 2 percent), California (up 1 percent) and Florida (up 1 percent). Sentenced prisoners in Georgia, the state with the fourth largest prison population, decreased by 1 percent in 2013. Hawaii, Idaho and Kentucky each imprisoned 5 percent fewer sentenced prisoners at yearend 2013 than at yearend 2012.

California state prisons held 122,800 inmates in custody at yearend 2013. An additional 13,200 prisoners under its jurisdiction or legal authority were held in private prisons or in other states. California experienced large declines in its prison population in 2011 and 2012 due to the Public Safety Realignment (PSR) policy, which was designed to alleviate prison crowding. At yearend 2013, the state’s prisoners in custody were 143 percent of the design capacity, down from 181 percent in 2010.

Due to the increase in the U.S. resident population, the total imprisonment rate for prisoners sentenced to more than a year in state or federal prison decreased by less than 1 percent, from 480 per 100,000 U.S. residents in 2012 to 478 in 2013.

During 2013, the number of female prisoners sentenced to more than a year in state or federal prison rose by 2,800 inmates (up 3 percent). Whites (49 percent) made up a greater share of the female prison population than blacks (22 percent); however, the imprisonment rate for black females (113 per 100,000 U.S. residents) was twice the rate of white females (51 per 100,000).

State and federal prisons had jurisdiction over fewer than 1,300 prisoners age 17 or younger at yearend 2013 (less than 0.1 percent of the total prison population). An estimated 9 percent of the sentenced prison population was age 55 or older (144,500 prisoners), while 2 percent was age 65 or older (31,900 prisoners). About 58 percent of male inmates and 61 percent of female inmates in state or federal prison were age 39 or younger.

In 2012, the most recent year for which offense data were available, 16 percent of state prisoners and 51 percent of federal prisoners were serving sentences for drug offenses. Violent offenders equaled 7 percent of the federal prison population, compared to 54 percent of state prisoners.

Private prisons held 8 percent of all prisoners at yearend 2013, and local jails housed an additional 5 percent of state and federal prisoners. The Federal Bureau of Prisons accounted for 31 percent (41,200) of all inmates housed in private facilities in 2013.

The number of sentenced prisoners under military jurisdiction increased by 4 percent, from 1,014 inmates in 2012 to 1,056 inmates in 2013. Army personnel were 52 percent of the sentenced prisoners under military jurisdiction on December 31, 2013, followed by service members in the Air Force (20 percent), Navy (14 percent) and Marines (13 percent).

Today BJS also updated its dynamic online Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool with 2013 data on prisoners. The data tool allows the media, stakeholders and other BJS web users to analyze prisoner data by yearend populations, admissions and releases and many characteristics of prisoners.

The report, Prisoners in 2013 (NCJ 247282), was written by E. Ann Carson of BJS and the online data tool, Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool – Prisoners, was created by E. Ann Carson and Joseph Mulako-Wangota of BJS. The report, data tool, related documents and additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at


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