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Capacities report, 10/31/2019

This capacities report, part of a form called a PP-80, is current as of Halloween 2019. We will keep you updated as the once and future Director, Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, retakes the BOP's reins.

Download 2020-00425 PP80 19-1031.pdf

Capacities report, 3/19/2019

Capacities report as of March 2019, with declaration of "crowding" rates. Notably, there is no "design" capacity released, meaning we are still unsure what these facilities were originally designed to hold.

Download 19-0319  FOIA Resp 2017-06299 (Capacities, No Designation caps used).pdf

First Step Act guidance

Here are the BOP's release guidance papers regarding the new "First Step" Act, regarding sentence reductions and other sentencing reforms.

Download 2019-03468 First Step Act FOIA Response.pdf

Capacities report, 8/8/2017

Useful not just for rated capacity measures -- used to determine overcrowding rates -- but also for keeping track of all the BOP's many facilities.

Download 2017-06231 Additional Release (Design Cap).pdf

Prison Capacities, Rated and Designation

The capacities of federal prisons were published annually, in the "State of the Bureau," until about 2001. Today, not even the "annual" State of the Bureau is published annually. This February 2016 response (replacing our former, 2009 response) offers a glimpse of how many inmates that prisons were designed to hold, and are now "rated" to hold. To get a feel for how overcrowded the BOP is, compare these numbers to the weekly "Inmate Population Report," published at

Download 16-0216 Capacities PP80 population report.pdf

Understaffed USP Atwater

These reflect unfilled Positions at USP Atwater, California, as of March 2018. More followup coming.

Download 18-0309 FOIA Response to Unfilled Atwater Positions.pdf

Reduction in Sentence ("compassionate release") decisions

These records track requests and outcomes of Reduction in Sentence motions between about 2013 and 2015. Data has changed in the past four years, I hope.

Download 16-0502 Response RIS (compassionate release) data.pdf

Review of changes: BOP Reduction in Sentence Motions

Re-published with permissions

Download bop-reduction-in-sentencing-program.pdf

Medical Levels

The BOP breaks its facilities into four "Medical Care Levels" -- Level 1 are facilities for the healthiest of inmates, often in rural areas, while Level 4 facilities are the Medical Centers. Most Facilities are Medical Level 2, meaning generally that they are within driving distance from a regional medical center and can house inmates with controlled medical conditions. This 2012 response lists BOP prison Medical Levels.

Download BOP Med Levels 12-0126.pdf

Ion Spectrometer Guidance, 2009

For many years, the BOP has been using Ion Spectrometers - devices designed to detect molecules of contraband substances, like explosives or drugs. Positive ion spectrometer tests used to mean the person could not enter a BOP facility that day. After finally addressing "software" issues, this guidance about how to use Ion Spectrometers was issued.

Download Ion Spec Use 9_0324.pdf