ABSTRACT

Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options [April 15, 2014]   [open pdf - 628KB]

"Since the early 1980s, there has been a historically unprecedented increase in the federal prison population. Some of the growth is attributable to changes in federal criminal justice policy during the previous three decades. An issue before Congress is whether policy makers consider the rate of growth in the federal prison population sustainable, and if not, what changes could be made to federal criminal justice policy to reduce the prison population while maintaining public safety. This report explores the issues related to the growing federal prison population. The number of inmates under the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP's) jurisdiction has increased from approximately 25,000 in FY1980 to over 219,000 in FY2013. Since FY1980, the federal prison population has increased, on average, by approximately 5,900 inmates each year. Data show that a growing proportion of inmates are being incarcerated for immigration- and weapons-related offenses, but the largest portion of newly admitted inmates are being incarcerated for drug offenses. Data also show that approximately 7 in 10 inmates are sentenced for five years or less. Changes in federal sentencing and correctional policy since the early 1980s have contributed to the rapid growth in the federal prison population. These changes include increasing the number of federal offenses subject to mandatory minimum sentences; changes to the federal criminal code that have made more crimes federal offenses; and eliminating parole."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42937
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2014-04-15
Series:
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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