US Federal Prisons

US Federal Prisons

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The Federal Bureau of Prisons was established in 1930 to provide more progressive and humane care for Federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service, and to ensure consistent and centralized administration of the 11 Federal prisons in operation at the time.

Today, the Bureau consists of more than 106 institutions, 6 regional offices, a Central Office (headquarters), 2 staff training centers, and 28 community corrections offices. The regional offices and Central Office provide administrative oversight and support to Bureau facilities and community corrections offices. Community corrections offices oversee community corrections centers and home confinement programs.

The database includes all federal inmates from 1982 to present. The Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 185,000 Federal offenders. Approximately 85 percent of these inmates are confined in Bureau-operated correctional facilities or detention centers. The remainder are confined through agreements with state and local governments or through contracts with privately-operated community corrections centers, detention centers, prisons, and juvenile facilities.

The Bureau of Prisons database includes all federal inmates from 1982 to present. Today the Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 183,851 federal offenders (as of June 2018). Approximately 85 percent of these inmates are confined in Bureau-operated correctional facilities or detention centers. The remainder are confined through agreements with state and local governments or through contracts with privately-operated community corrections centers, detention centers, prisons, and juvenile facilities.

There’s a lot of statistical information on the Bureau of Prisons website and it’s worth taking a tour to discover things that might surprise you. Here’s a few that draw our attention looking at the Federal Inmates June 2018 Snapshot Report.

Most federal inmates are 36 years of age, and they account for 34,014 of the entire BOP population. The Gaussian distribution forms a pretty consistent “bell curve” starting with 2,437 18-year-olds, then going up to 34,014 36-year-olds, then descending to 4,767 65-year-or-older. But, to find out how this corelates to the average age people commit federal offenses you must do some more gigging. 20% are non US citizens and 32.9% a Hispanic. 7% of the federal inmates population are females.

Federal Offenses. The highest rate of incarceration at 78,784 is for drug related offences, over twice as high as weapons-explosive-arson (30,104), and that’s been pretty much consistent over the years. It might surprise you to find out that 9.5% are sexual offenders (16,257) and that our national security is strong with only 67 incarcerations.

The majority of federal inmates are housed in low security level camps, with only 11.8% housed in high security level institutions. Race distribution: 58.5% White, 37.7% Black, 2.2% Native American, and 1.6% Asian. The majority of sentences imposed are 5 to 15 years long, followed by 3 to 5 years and 15 to 20 years. And here’s the kicker: 43,864 federal inmates were released in 2016; that’s 23% of the entire federal prison population for that year.