Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), a constituent part of the U.S. Department of Justice, is the largest prison system in the United States, housing 195,000 inmates in 122 facilities in 2016. Most inmates are awaiting trial or have been convicted of federal crimes.

The BOP employs approximately 39,000 staff members. In the more than 85 years that the BOP has operated, there have been only eight directors. This position is appointed by the president but typically nominated by the attorney general. Sanford Bates, the superintendent of the federal prison system before the BOP was established in 1930, became the first director of the BOP. The second director was James V. Bennett, who served from 1937 until 1964. The first woman director was Dr. Kathleen ...

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