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September 30, 2008

New BJS data on federal criminal justice realities

A new report just released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics provides a different perspective on federal crime and punishment than is provided by the data produced by the US Sentencing Commission. The new BJS report, titled simply "Federal Justice Statistics, 2005" and available online at this link, provides arrest data and other case-processing information that provides a more complete view of the massive realities of the federal criminal justice system.

This official press release provides an overview of some of the many interesting particulars appearing in the full BJS report:

Immigration and drug arrests comprised more than half of the 140,200 federal suspects arrested and booked by the U.S. Marshals in 2005, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today....

Forty percent of all suspects arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service were arrested in 1 of 5 federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border, including Arizona, New Mexico, the Southern and Western Districts of Texas, and the Southern District of California. Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) of all suspects arrested in 2005 were arrested in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas....

From 1995 to 2005, the likelihood of being prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to prison increased. Sixty percent of suspects referred to U.S. attorneys were prosecuted in 2005 (from 54 percent in 1995) Ninety percent of defendants charged with a federal violation were convicted (up from 84 percent in 1995) and 79 percent of defendants convicted in 2005 were sentenced to prison (up from 67 percent in 1995). Thirteen percent of the defendants convicted in 2005 were sentenced to probation (down from 24 percent in 1995)....

The U.S. Court of Appeals received 14,644 filings in 2005 — an increase of 44 percent from 1995.  About 4 in 10 appeals filed in 2005 were for drug offenses (41 percent), followed by immigration (17 percent), weapons (16 percent) and violent (5 percent) offenses.  Appeals filed by immigration offenders increased an average 25 percent per year from 1995 to 2005.

     At year-end 2005, 375,600 persons were under some form of federal supervision — 62 percent were in secure confinement, including prison and pretrial detention. Thirty-eight percent were under federal supervision in the community, including pretrial release and post-sentencing supervision.

September 30, 2008 at 05:16 PM | Permalink


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