BJS: 2021 Counted Fewest Federal Arrests in Two Decades
According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report, federal arrests declined by 35 percent from fiscal year 2020 to 2021, ending at the lowest number of arrests in two decades.
The pandemic sparked an immediate drop-off, causing federal arrests to fall by 81 percent and cases charged in federal court to plunge 77 percent from March to April 2020.
But the decline continued later in the year, with a 25 percent slide in arrests and a 20 percent dip in cases charged from October 2020 to February 2021.
However, while federal arrests dipped over the period, the number of people charged with a federal offense in U.S. district court decreased less than 1 percent.
Nonviolent offenses had the most significant percentage reduction while the number of people charged with violent crimes increased.
Almost 60 percent (48,257) of federal arrests in 2021 were for immigration, drug or supervision violations.
Immigration offenses dropped the most, from 51,723 to 14,446 arrests, or a 72 percent decline. The number of people charged with immigration violations also dropped by 18 percent in 2021.
However, during the same time period, the number of persons charged with violent offenses rose by 18 percent, and the number of people charged with public order offenses increased by 13 percent.
Still, the number of people under federal correction control declined.
For the decade from fiscal year-end 2011 to 2021, the number of persons under federal correctional control fell 15 percent, from 410,887 to 350,543.
In addition, 47,226 persons were released from federal prison in 2021.
The full report prepared by BJS Statistician Mark Motivans can be found here.