ABA Journal: Federal criminal statutes have multiplied to such an extent that it has become increasingly difficult to count them.

As a result of the increase, federal prisons now house more than 200,000 inmates, eight times the number 30 years ago, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. And more people are in criminal jeopardy, often unwittingly, since increasingly the new laws do not have an intent requirement.

A U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman tells the Wall Street Journal that the number of federal criminal laws can’t be quantified. Studies have put the number at more than 3,000 and at 4,500.