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Publication Federal Justice Statistics, 2015-2016

Mark Motivans, Ph.D., BJS Statistician

January 18, 2019    NCJ 251770

Describes the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes of the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment. Findings are based on data from the U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and Federal Bureau of Prisons. This report presents data on arrests and investigations by law enforcement agency and growth rates by type of offense and federal judicial district. It also examines trends on drug arrests by the DEA, and it includes the most recent available data on sentences imposed and their lengths by type of offense.


  • A total of 151,460 arrests were made by federal law enforcement agencies in fiscal year (FY) 2016.
  • More than half (58%) of all federal arrests in FY 2016 took place in the five federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border, up from 45% in FY 2006.
  • In FY 2016, the five federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border accounted for 52% of all suspects investigated and 41% of all offenders who were sentenced to federal prison.
  • Forty-five percent of federal arrests in FY 2016 involved an immigration offense as the most serious arrest offense.
  • In FY 2016, 41% of defendants charged in U.S. district courts were not U.S. citizens: 30% were Mexican citizens, 5% were from Central America, and 6% were citizens of other foreign nations.

Part of the Federal Justice Statistics Series

Summary (PDF 195K)
Full report (PDF 1.21M)
Data tables (Zip format 21K)

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Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP)

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