BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home | Corrections | State and federal prisoners and prison facilities
State and federal prisoners and prison facilities
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The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) maintains several data collections on prisoners and prison facilities using administrative records maintained by each state's department of corrections, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and personal interviews with inmates in state and federal prisons (see Data Collections for a summary of these collections). State and federal prisoner populations differ from the jail inmate population in terms of conviction status, offense distribution, and average length of stay. The federal prisoner population is also unique from the state prisoner population, most notably in offense distribution. Similarly, prison facilities differ from local jail facilities in average size, treatment and programming resources, and crowding, among other characteristics. For more information, see Terms and Definitions.

Using information gathered from these data series, BJS regularly publishes reports and statistical tables of prison population counts, prisoner characteristics, state and federal prison facility characteristics, capital punishment, mortality in correctional institutions, and special topics, such as recidivism, substance abuse and treatment, mental health, education, and incarcerated parents.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Disabilities Reported by Prisoners: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016 This brief presents findings based on data collected in the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates, a survey conducted through face-to-face interviews with a national sample of state and federal prisoners across a variety of topics, such as their demographic characteristics, socio-economic background, health, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
  Full report (PDF 410K) | Data tables (Zip format 11K)

Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016 This brief presents findings based on data collected in the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates, a survey conducted through face-to-face interviews with a national sample of state and federal prisoners across a variety of topics, such as their demographic characteristics, socio-economic background, health, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
  Full report (PDF 378K) | Data tables (Zip format 7K)

Veterans in Prison: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016 This brief presents findings based on data collected in the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates, a survey conducted through face-to-face interviews with a national sample of state and federal prisoners across a variety of topics, such as their demographic characteristics, socio-economic background, health, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
  Full report (PDF 400K) | Data tables (Zip format 700K)
Part of the Veterans in State and Federal Prisons Series

Time Served in State Prison, 2018 This report presents findings on the time served by prisoners released from state prison in 2018.
  Summary (PDF 171K) | Full report (PDF 479K) | Data tables (Zip format 736K)

Federal Prisoner Statistics Collected under the First Step Act, 2020 This is the second report as required under the First Step Act of 2018 (FSA; P.L. 115-391). It includes data on federal prisoners provided to BJS by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for calendar year 2019, the first full year of BOP operation under the FSA.
  Full report (PDF 516K) | Data tables (Zip format 16K)
Part of the Federal Prisoner Statistics Collected under the First Step Act Series

Federal Justice Statistics, 2015 - Statistical Tables This report is based on data from BJS's Federal Justice Statistics Program, which began in 1979. It provides national statistics on the federal response to crime for fiscal year 2015.
  Full report (PDF 1.8M) | Data tables (Zip format 56K)
Part of the Federal Justice Statistics Series

Federal Justice Statistics, 2016 - Statistical Tables This report is based on data from BJS's Federal Justice Statistics Program, which began in 1979. It provides national statistics on the federal response to crime for fiscal year 2016.
  Full report (PDF 1.8M) | Data tables (Zip format 56K)
Part of the Federal Justice Statistics Series

Prisoners in 2019 This report is the 94th in a series that began in 1926. It provides counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities in 2019 and includes findings on admissions, releases, and imprisonment rates.
  Press Release (203K) | Summary (PDF 176K) | Full report (PDF 796K) | Data tables (Zip format 46K) | Jurisdiction notes (PDF 86K)
Part of the Prisoners Series

Correctional Populations in the United States, 2017-2018 This report is the 23rd in a series that began in 1985. It provides statistics on populations supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States, including persons held in prisons or jails and those supervised in the community on probation or parole.
  Full report (PDF 701K) | Data tables (Zip format 17K)
Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

Prisoners in 2018 This report is the 93rd in a series that began in 1926. It provides counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities in 2018 and includes findings on admissions, releases, and imprisonment rates.
  Press Release (221K) | Summary (PDF 579K) | Full report (PDF 2M) | Data tables (Zip format 48K) | Jurisdiction notes (PDF 166K)
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 (BOP).
 
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