BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  | Terms & Definitions: Corrections | State and federal prisoners and prison facilities | Prison inmate characteristics
Terms & Definitions: Prison inmate characteristics

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 (BOP).

Imprisonment rate
The number of prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction sentenced to more than one year, per 100,000 U.S. residents.

Institutional corrections
Institutional corrections refers to those persons housed in secure correctional facilities. There are many different types of correctional facilities, operated by different government entities. Local jails are operated by county or municipal authorities, and typically hold offenders for short periods ranging from a single day to a year. Prisons serve as long-term confinement facilities and are only run by the 50 state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Private correctional facilities also operate under contracts for a wide variety of local, state, and federal agencies. Other correctional facilities are operated by special jurisdictions, including the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. territories, and federal agencies, such as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Jurisdiction
A unit of government or the legal authority to exercise governmental power. In corrections, it refers to the government that has legal authority over an inmate (state or federal). Prisoners under a given state's jurisdiction may be housed in another state or local correctional facility.

Jurisdiction count
Prisoners under legal authority of state or federal correctional authorities who are housed in prison facilities (e.g., prisons, penitentiaries, and correctional institutions; boot camps; prison farms; reception, diagnostic, and classification centers; release centers, halfway houses and road camps; forestry and conservation camps; vocational training facilities; prison hospitals; and drug and alcohol treatment facilities for prisoners), regardless of which government entity physically holds them. This number also includes prisoners who are temporarily absent (fewer than 30 days), out to court, or on work release; housed in local jails, private facilities, and other states or federal facilities; and serving a sentence for two jurisdictions at the same time. This count excludes prisoners held in a state or federal facility for another state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). However, prisoners housed in another state and under the legal authority of the governing state are included.

Movement
In corrections, a movement refers to an admission or a release from a status, such as prisoner, parolee, or probationer. Unless specifically noted, a transfer between facilities does not count as a movement.

Operational capacity
The number of inmates that can be accommodated based on a facility's staff, existing programs, and services.

Prisoners
Prisoners are inmates confined in long-term facilities run by the state or federal government or private agencies. They are typically felons who have received a sentence of incarceration of 1 year or more. (Sentence length may vary by state because a few states have one integrated prison system in which both prison and jail inmates are confined in the same types of facilities.)

Private prisons
Prison facilities run by private prison corporations whose services and beds are contracted out by state governments or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Rated capacity
The number of beds or inmates assigned by a rating official to institutions within the jurisdiction.

Sentenced prisoners
Prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities who have been given a sentence of more than one year.

State prisons
Prison facilities run by state correctional authorities. Prisoners housed in these facilities are under the legal authority of the state government and generally serving a term of more than 1 year.

Total incarceration rate
The number of inmates held in the custody of state or federal prisons or in local jails, per 100,000 U.S. residents.


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