December 2021 U.S. federal incarceration statistics released

The federal prisoner statistics presented by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and collected through the Federal Bureau of Prisons on specific topics reports this data annually around the end of the year.

The published statistics correspond to the calendar year 2021 and detail a wide range of characteristics related to the prisons, inmates and staff, as well as the conditions of the facilities. Among the most noteworthy are the following:

The federal prison population increased by more than 3%, going from 151,283 inmates at the end of 2020 to 156,542 in the same period of 2021.

Around the end of 2021, about 85% of people in federal prisons were U.S. citizens.

Among the total number of prisoners, seven cases of sexual assault were committed against prison staff, of which two involved the use of force or death threats.

By the end of 2021, there were a total of 8,605 citizens registered to volunteer at a federal correctional facility. Of these people, 6,651 were registered for long-term service and 1,954 for 4 days or less.

In the United States there are 122 federal correctional facilities, all with video conferencing capabilities and capacities for participating in court hearings, consultations with foreign embassies, communications with parole offices, preliminary re-entry preparation, disciplinary hearings, and for the Institutional Hearing Program. It should be added that all these prisons are equipped with professional healthcare.

Over the past year, there were a total of 378 people who received medication-assisted treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for substance abuse before being admitted to prisons. It is also worth mentioning that 1,127 people received the treatment while already incarcerated.

During 2021, a total of 73,459 prohibited acts were committed by 47,000 inmates in the various federal prisons. Of these, 35,433 (48%) were of moderate severity, 19,630 (27%) were of high severity and the remaining 25% (18,206) were of greatest severity.

In 2021, prison staff were physically assaulted by federal prisoners in 1,111 separate disturbances, resulting in 10 cases of serious injury to workers.

The four facilities with the most prohibited acts in 2021 were all high-security facilities: Thomson Administrative U.S. Penitentiary in Illinois (1,568 cases), Victorville U.S. Penitentiary in California (1,362 cases), Tucson U.S. Penitentiary in Arizona (1,338 cases) and Lee U.S. Penitentiary in Virginia (1,279 cases).

During the full year, the risk of recidivism was assessed in a total of 142,871 inmates in federal prison through the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs (PATTERN). About 34% of federal prisoners assessed as of 31 December 2021 were classified at high risk of recidivism, 19% at medium risk, 31% at low risk, and 15% at minimal risk.


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