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Federal Justice Statistics, 2022

THURSDAY, January 18, 2024, 10:00 AM ET                 Contact: OJP MEDIA
[email protected]

Press Release

Federal arrests increase 24% after falling to a 20-year low

WASHINGTON ― Federal law enforcement agencies made 96,857 arrests during fiscal year 2022, up 24% from the 78,068 arrests in FY 2021 (the lowest number in 2 decades), the Bureau of Justice Statistics found in its new report Federal Justice Statistics, 2022. Federal arrests had gradually risen from FY 2000 to FY 2013, before decreasing from FY 2014 to FY 2017. Arrests then increased sharply, reaching a 20-year high of 206,630 in FY 2019, before falling in FY 2020 and FY 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Immigration offenses (illegally entering or reentering the United States, failing to leave when ordered or illegally transporting or harboring non-U.S. citizens) accounted for 24% of all federal arrests in FY 2022. About 23% of arrests were for supervision violations (violating bail or probation or failing to appear in court), and 21% involved drug offenses (manufacturing, importing, exporting, distributing or dispensing a controlled or counterfeit substance or possessing it with intent to manufacture or distribute).

“The Drug Enforcement Administration reported 26,233 drug arrests in fiscal year 2022, 7% fewer than the 28,224 reported in FY 2021. In FY 2022, 31% of DEA arrests involved methamphetamine, the most commonly reported type of arrests, with 20% of arrest involving opioids including fentanyl, oxycodone or hydrocodone,” said BJS Acting Director Kevin M. Scott, PhD.

Regardless of the arresting agency, most suspects in federal immigration (74%), drug (71%) and weapons (71%) cases were prosecuted in FY 2022. Between 42% and 55% of suspects in other federal cases went on to be prosecuted. U.S. attorneys took a median of 60 days to decide whether to prosecute or decline a case they received in FY 2022, down from 70 days in FY 2021. Cases took a median of 314 days from filing in U.S. district court to disposition in FY 2022, up from 300 days in FY 2021.

“In FY 2022, convictions were obtained in 98% of immigration cases, 94% of weapons cases and 92% of drug cases,” Dr. Scott noted.

A total of 50,655 persons were admitted to federal prison in FY 2022. Of these, 40,194 had entered on a U.S. district court commitment and 10,461 were admitted for other reasons, such as for violating conditions of probation or parole. A total of 19,518 persons entered federal prison for a drug offense, most of whom (15,824 or 81%) had been sentenced to more than 1 year. Among persons released from federal prison in FY 2022, those incarcerated for nonregulatory public order offenses, including sex offenses, served more time (66 months) than those imprisoned for violent offenses (56 months) or drug offenses (53 months).

These and other findings are from BJS’s Federal Justice Statistics Program, which collects data from the U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Sentencing Commission

Federal Justice Statistics, 2022, written by BJS Statistician Mark Motivans, Ph.D.; related documents; and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs are available on the BJS website at bjs.ojp.gov

About the Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs is the principal federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable statistics on crime and criminal justice in the United States. Kevin M. Scott, PhD, is the acting director. More information about BJS and criminal justice statistics can be found at bjs.ojp.gov.

About the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime; advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims; and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

Date Published: January 18, 2024