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August 3, 2007

Latest BJS statistics on felonies sentenced in state courts

3Late last month the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its report entitled, "Felony Sentences in State Courts, 2004."  The full report is available here, and this official BJS webpage provides some background and highlights.  Here are those "official" highlights:

  • Between 1994 and 2004, the number of felony convictions in State courts increased 24%.
  • 94% of felony convictions occurred in State courts, the remaining 6% in Federal courts.
  • 7 in 10 convicted felons in State courts were sentenced to incarceration.

The entire report, which only runs three full pages, is chock full of other fascinating bits of data.  Here is one passage among many worth thinking about:

State prison sentences averaged 4 years and 9 months in 2004.  Persons convicted of a violent felony received the longest prison sentences in 2004. Felony sentences to jail averaged 6 months.  The average felony sentence to incarceration (prison or jail) in State courts was about 3 years in 2004, compared to just over 5 years in Federal courts. Federal felony drug offenders received incarceration terms (7 years) that were about 2½ times the length of felony drug offenders in State courts (2 years and 7 months).

August 3, 2007 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

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Comments

It would help a lot if they split drug offenses into possession, trafficking and other drug. The number of persons sentenced by a state court to prison, jail and probation depends on the type of drug offense. Only a few states have mandatory minimum sentences for possession (usually within a 1000 foot radius of a school) and more have mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking to minors or near a school. There are not as many state mandatory minimum sentences for drugs as in the past because some of them were repealed.

I was surprised by the large number of felony convictions for possession.

Posted by: JSN | Aug 3, 2007 12:16:39 PM

It would help a lot if they split drug offenses into possession, trafficking and other drug. The number of persons sentenced by a state court to prison, jail and probation depends on the type of drug offense. Only a few states have mandatory minimum sentences for possession (usually within a 1000 foot radius of a school) and more have mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking to minors or near a school. There are not as many state mandatory minimum sentences for drugs as in the past because some of them were repealed.

I was surprised by the large number of felony convictions for possession.

Posted by: JSN | Aug 3, 2007 12:16:54 PM

I'm not surprised at all by the state felony drug conviction rate. In Texas any amount of any controlled substance except pot is a felony. Even <1 gram of a controlled substance here is a "state jail" or essentially a 4th degree felony.

Are there states where cocaine or heroin possession is a misdemeanor?

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Aug 3, 2007 1:39:08 PM

get your stuff straight. i want to know facts not opinion.

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