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Corrections refers to the supervision of persons arrested for, convicted of, or sentenced for criminal offenses. Correctional populations fall into two general categories: institutional corrections and community corrections. Corrections data, with a few exceptions, covers adult agencies or facilities and adult offenders.

BJS maintains over 30 corrections-related data collections. Most are annual collections of administrative data from correctional administrators, ranging from basic population counts and offender demographic characteristics to facility capacity, programs, staff, and resources. These data collections include—

The NPS also collects counts on specific inmate populations from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. territories. Some limited information on the number of juveniles held in adult facilities is also collected in the NPS and the ASJJails in Indian Country is a separate collection for data on counts and characteristics of persons held in tribal jails. BJS also tracks administrative data on other topics, such as HIV in correctional facilities; sexual assault in correctional facilities; and capital punishment statutes, populations, and executions.

In addition to collecting administrative data, BJS maintains a number of recurring national surveys of prison and jail inmates. These surveys are conducted periodically and use a nationally representative sample of inmates. The surveys, Survey of Prison Inmates (formerly known as the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities) and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, are broad in scope and collect a wide range of data on the personal and criminal histories of criminal offenders. Topics cover childhood experiences, family structure, educational background, prior criminal activity, substance abuse experiences, mental and physical health problems, and conditions of current confinement. Estimates derived from these surveys are national and, with rare exceptions, are not available at the state or facility level.

Terms & Definitions

Community corrections

The supervision of criminal offenders in the resident population, as opposed to confining offenders in secure correctional facilities. The two main types of community corrections supervision are probation and parole. Community corrections is also referred to as community supervision.


To have custody of a prisoner, a state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must physically hold that person in one of its facilities. A locality, state, or the BOP may hold inmates over whom a different government maintains jurisdiction.

Federal prisons

Prison facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Prisoners housed in these facilities are under the legal authority of the federal government. This excludes private facilities under exclusive contract with BOP.

Operational capacity

The number of inmates that can be accommodated based on a facility's staff, existing programs, and services.


Prisoners are inmates confined in long-term facilities run by the state or federal government or private agencies. They are typically felons who have received a sentence of incarceration of 1 year or more. (Sentence length may vary by state because a few states have one integrated prison system in which both prison and jail inmates are confined in the same types of facilities.)
Date Created: February 18, 2021