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Bureau of Prisons

Headquarters: 320 First St., NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: 202-307-3198
Employees: 35,000
Director: Harley Lappin


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The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), established in 1930, is a subdivision of the United States Department of Justice. The Bureau's basic responsibility is the management and supervision of the federal prison system. 

BOP's Central Office is located in Washington DC, and provides administrative supervision and support to the bureau's 106 institutions, and 28 community corrections offices. Without the Bureau of Prisons, America would not have an organized system to confine law-offenders, while assuring that their human rights are still enforced. 
The mission of the bureau is to protect American society by incarcerating law offenders and maintaining them inside police-controlled environments. These prisons and community-based facilities are considered by the government to be a safe and humane way of imprisoning people who endanger their communities. The prisons are also considered to be cost-effective and secure. In addition to imprisoning criminals, BOP provides work for convicts who believe in self-improvement, and sincerely want to become law-abiding citizens. 

At the end of November, there were a total of 188,087 inmates in custody with the Bureau of Prisons. Of this number, 93.1% were male, 40.1% were black and 31.8% were Hispanic. The average inmate age was 37 years old. 53.4% of all inmates in prison were convicted of drug offenses.

Most inmates are housed at Bureau facilities. The rest of the criminals that are in Bureau custody are confined trough state and local agreements or through contracts with privately-owned correction centers, juvenile facilities, or detention centers. Here is a link to weekly report of inmate numbers and their locations.

The makeup of staff working for the Bureau of Prisons is 72.5% male, 64.3% white, 21% African-American and 11.2% Hispanic.

Updated December 17, 2005