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Federal Prisoner Statistics Collected under the First Step Act, 2020

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2021
19 pages

In compliance with the federal First Step Act of 2018, this report by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) presents statistics for calendar year 2019 reported in the second half of 2020 on selected characteristics of federal prisoners.


Selected prisoner statistics for 2019 include marital, veteran, citizenship, and English-speaking status; educational levels; medical conditions; and participation in treatment programs. BJS is also required to report some facility statistics, such as the number of prisoner assaults on staff, prisoners’ violations of rules that resulted in time-credit reductions, and selected facility characteristics related to accreditation, on-site health care, remote learning, video conferencing, and costs of prisoners’ phone calls. The statistics in the current report are for calendar year 2019, which is the first full year under the FSA. Data for 2020 will be available from the BOP in the second half of 2021. The data-collection methodology is described. The data for calendar year 2019 indicate that the portion of federal prisoners who were the parent, step-parent, or guardian of a minor child increased from 45 percent to 49 percent from year-end 2018 to year-end 2019. On December 31, 2019, a total of 31,458 federal prisoners were non-citizens of the United States, and 21,922 prisoners identified English as their second language (13 percent of all federal prisoners). During 2019, 3,791 federal prisoners earned a general-equivalency degree (GED) or other equivalent certificate while in prison. In 2019, there were 386 incidents of prisoners being placed in administrative maximum-segregated housing. Of the 180 pregnant prisoners in federal custody in 2019, a total of 94 gave birth in custody, and 74 were released before giving birth. While in custody in 2019, 115 federal prisoners received medication-assisted treatment for a substance-use disorder. 9 tables

Date Created: February 16, 2021