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National Prisoner Statistics Program


Status: Active
Frequency: Annually starting 1926
Latest data available: 2018

Produces annual national- and state-level data on the number of prisoners in state and federal prison facilities. Aggregate data are collected on race and sex of prison inmates, inmates held in private facilities and local jails, system capacity, noncitizens, and persons age 17 or younger. Findings are released in the Prisoners series and the Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool (CSAT) - Prisoners. Data are from the 50 state departments of correction, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and until 2001, from the District of Columbia (after 2001, felons sentenced under the District of Columbia criminal code were housed in federal facilities).

Data Experts

E. Ann Carson, Ph.D., BJS Statistician (Email this expert)

Collection Period



Collection forms for December 31 are sent annually to central respondents in each of the 50 state departments of correction, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and 5 commonwealth territories. June 30 forms were sent to the central respondents through 2010, when the midyear collection was suspended pending redesign by BJS. Forms were sent to the District of Columbia until 2001, when its prison system ceased operations. As of December 31, 2001, sentenced felons from the District of Columbia are the responsibility of the federal Bureau of Prisons. Respondents are permitted to update the previous years' data when submitting the current year. Data are submitted online at a secure site.

Changes Over Time

The following categories were added or altered over time: admission and release categories; race and ethnicity categories (1999, 2005); inmates held in local jails due to crowding (1978); inmates held in private facilities, local jails, and in another state (1999); persons age 17 or younger held (1998); non-U.S. citizens held (1998); and HIV information (1999).

The Prisoner Population Reports Midyear Counts (NPS-1A) survey was suspended pending redesign.