Agency Spotlight—The Bureau of Prisons

Apr 3, 2017


This month our agency spotlight is on The Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The BOP is responsible for handling inmates who have violated or are accused of violating, federal law and inmates who have committed felonies in Washington, DC. They also have the responsibility for managing 122 prisons across the United States and for carrying out all judicially ordered federal executions (other than those carried out under military law).


The mission at the BOP is to protect society by confining offenders in controlled prisons and communities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure. They also ensure these places to provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.


The BOP is consistently regarded as a model of outstanding public administration and as a provider of efficient, safe, and humane correctional services and programs in the U.S. They believe their vision will be realized when:

  • The public is safe by assuring no escapes or disturbances occur in its facilities.
  • Prisons are safe and ensuring the physical safety of all inmates through a controlled environment. Also, meeting each inmates’ need for security through the elimination of violence, gang activity, drug use, and inmate weapons.
  • Inmates re-enter society using health care, mental, spiritual, educational, vocational, and work programs.
  • They are good stewards of public funds and are the model of cost-efficient operations and programs.
  • Their staff is exceptional, talented, professional, well-trained, and diverse and reflect the Bureaus’ culture and treat each other fairly.
  • The staff works in a discrimination-free environment, maintains positive relationships, and work in a safe environment where they are without fear of injury or assault.
  • The staff has superior judgment, maintains high ethical standards, and become satisfied with their jobs, career opportunities, recognition, and quality of leadership.

Core Values

The BOP operates with three core values; correctional excellence, respect, and integrity.

Correctional Excellence

“We are correctional workers first, committed to the highest level of performance.”


“We embrace diversity and recognize the value and dignity of staff, inmates, and the general public.”


“We demonstrate uncompromising ethical conduct in all our actions.”


The Bureau has the responsibility for 122 prisons nationwide. There are four main types of facilities that fall under this responsibility; minimum, low, medium, and high-security facilities.

Minimum Security

Also known as Federal Prison Camps (FCP’s), these facilities have dorm rooms, a low staff-to-inmate ratio, limited or no perimeter fencing, and work and programs for inmates. Some even have a small, minimum-security camp which provides inmates labor and off-site work programs.

Low Security

Low-security Federal Correctional Institutes (FCI’s) have double-fenced perimeters, mostly dorm or cubicle style housing, a higher staff-to-inmate ratio, and strong work and program components.

Medium Security

The facilities tend to have double fencing with an electronic deterrent system, cell-type housing, a wide variety of work and treatment programs, a high staff-to-inmate ratio, and greater internal controls.

High Security

These, also known as United States Penitentiaries (USP’s),have highly secured perimeters (a wall or reinforced fences), multiple or single occupant cell housing, the highest staff-to-inmate ratio, and very tight control of inmate movement.

Stay tuned for more this month about the BOP as we discuss their history, news stories, and much more.

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