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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.


This is the second report as required under the First Step Act of 2018 (FSA; P.L. 115-391). It includes data on federal prisoners provided to BJS by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for calendar year 2019, the first full year of BOP operation under the FSA.

  • The portion of federal prisoners who were the parent, step-parent, or guardian of a minor child (defined as a dependent age 20 or younger by the BOP) grew from 45% to 49% 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 (18% of all BOP prisoners), and 21,922 prisoners identified English as their second language (13% of all BOP prisoners).
  • During 2019, a total of 3,791 federal prisoners earned a general-equivalency degree (GED) or other equivalent certificate while in prison.
  • In 2019, there were 386 instances of prisoners being placed in administrative maximum segregated housing, the BOP's most restrictive level of segregated housing.

Date Published: February 1, 2021