01. Overview Of The Bureau Of Prisons
"Our staff are dedicated public servants that work diligently and collectively, 24 hours each day, 365 days per year - weekends and holidays - to provide care and programs that give inmates the best chance for a successful return to their communities. We take seriously our mission to protect public safety by running safe and secure prisons and by providing inmates with treatment and training necessary to be productive and law-abiding citizens upon release from prison."
Statement of Charles E. Samuels, Jr. Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, April 10, 2014
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (Bureau or BOP), an agency of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), was established in 1930 to provide more progressive and humane care for federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service, and to ensure consistent and centralized administration of the 11 federal prisons in operation at that time. Today, the BOP consists of more than 122 institutions, six Regional Offices, a Central Office (headquarters) located in Washington, D.C., a Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) located in Grand Prairie, Texas, two staff training centers, and 22 Residential Reentry Management (RRM) Offices.
The BOP has an excellent website with a substantial amount of information about their facilities, rules, policies and statistics. A visit to BOP website, as a supplement to the materials found here, is very valuable.
According to the 2015 BOP budget request, BOP facilities are overcrowded -- 32 percent above rated capacity system-wide as of February 27, 2014. The BOP’s biggest challenge is managing the over crowded federal inmate population, and providing for their care and safety, as well as the safety of BOP staff and surrounding communities, within budgeted levels.
The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of sentenced federal inmates as well as a significant number of pretrial detainees and pre-sentenced offenders housed in our facilities on behalf of the United States Marshals Service (USMS). The BOP also has custodial responsibility for District of Columbia felons sentenced to terms of imprisonment, and houses a number of state and military offenders on a contractual basis. The current inmate population exceeds 190,000 men and women, housed in both federal prisons and in private facilities under contract with the BOP. Approximately 28,000 inmates are housed in 15 major contract facilities under the oversight of the BOP Privatization Management Branch.
There are approximately 50,000 to 60,000 inmates released from federal prisons back to U.S. communities each year, reentry is a critical element of the mission of the BOP.
There are five classifications of security levels within these prisons which house approximately 215,000 inmates. Here are the security levels and the corresponding percentage of inmates within each:
- Minimum (Camp) - 17.0%
- Low - 38.0%
- Medium - 30.0%
- High - 12.0%
- Unclassified (Administrative) - 3.0%
The information we present here is important for a number of reasons but none is more important than people knowing that they have still have rights in prison. Assuring that you receive those rights means knowing the rules and putting prison staff on notice that you know the rules. The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said of prisons, "Within the walls of a correctional facility, does not mean outside the protection of the Constitution." Prisonology tells you the rules so that you can use them during a federal prison stay. The institution may fall short, but inmates and their families should be able to hold them accountable to the rules the BOP established.