The Federal Prison Population Buildup:
Overview, Policy Changes, Issues,
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE (CRS)
Analyst in Crime Policy
January 22, 2013
“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 policymakers 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) jurisdiction has increased from
approximately 25,000 in FY1980 to nearly 219,000 in FY2012…”