Federal Bureau of Prisons Statistics
Date:  04-29-2015

Monthly statistics provide snapshot of people in federal prison
Each month the Federal Bureau of Prisons provides statistics on people who were incarcerated in federal prisons from the previous month. The website allows easy access to information regarding age, citizenship, ethnicity, gender, prison safety, prison security levels, race, and sentenced imposed.

For the month ending March 28, 2015 for example, we are able to discover that people in the starting age range of 31 and 36 made up the largest number of people incarcerated in the federal prison system (38,487 and 38.018 respectively), and there were 29 people under the age of 18 that were incarcerated, as well as 4,611 people 65 or older.

While some people believe that in order to be incarcerated in a federal prison one must commit a violent or serious crime, statistics show that almost half of people in federal prison ( 48.7 percent) were convicted of a drug crime, while people who committed homicide, aggravated assault, and kidnapping offenses make up only 2.9 percent of the federal prison population.

In March of 2015 the racial statistics for people in federal prison were 59 percent white, 37.6 percent black, 1.9 percent Native American and 1.5 percent Asian, reflecting the racial disparity that is entrenched in both state and federal prison systems. Oddly there was no statistics available for those who identify as Latino.

Federal prison statistics also reveal that the majority of people (25.5 percent) are serving sentences of 5 – 10 years, with only 55 people (0.0 percent) receiving a federal death sentence. As in state prison systems, males outnumber females in the federal system (93.3 percent to 6.7 percent respectively in March.)

The statistics present a snapshot of people in federal prisons and also provide useful information to those working on federal criminal justice reform. In an article published in Reentry Central on April 27, a new report showed that the decline in the federal prison population has been only 1% since 2011.

The federal government has been examining diverse options to reduce the number of people in federal prisons such as diversion programs and a strong push for clemency for hundreds of people and has had unprecedented bipartisan support regarding criminal justice reform. It would be beneficial for society, families, communities and taxpayers if by March 2016 the statistics show a sharp drop in the number of people held in the federal prison system. In the meantime, find Federal Bureau of Prison statistics here.