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November 29, 2018

Lots of interesting data from BJS on "Time Served in State Prison, 2016"

The Bureau of Justice Statistics released this interesting new document titled simply "Time Served in State Prison, 2016," which has lots of interesting data on how much time offenders serve in state prisons. Here is what BJS lists as "Highlights":

November 29, 2018 at 03:41 PM | Permalink


Compare time served to federal time served, its way way out of proportion. Federal serves 3-5 times longer and nobody in the system gives a rip, this includes senator Cotton congress and senTors.

So why do these people even have a federal job, pretty much take same stance on all areas up for vote. Need to fire ghese jokers and replace with a 2 term limit.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Nov 30, 2018 8:46:25 AM

I find the interesting thing to be the somewhat significant gap between average and median time served before release. Unpacking that statistic, it implies that a the majority of state inmates are serving very short periods of incarceration (less than 16 months) and a very small number of inmates are serving very lengthy sentences that drive average up. (For example, if you had four inmates released after 1.0 years, one inmate released after 1.3 years, and three inmates released after 2.0 years, the ninth inmate would have to serve 12.1 years to get an average of 2.6 years.) The breakdown by type of offense seems to confirm this as violent offenses have much longer median and means than non-violent offenses. The same can be said for the percent released by a certain period of incarceration. The one stat missing from this analysis would be a criminal history component. My hunch is that the exceptional case with a long period of incarceration for non-violent offenses would be correlated with prior convictions and incarcerations.

Posted by: tmm | Nov 30, 2018 10:48:36 AM

The frequency distribution of length of stay for prison inmates resembles a power law with a cutoff. The cutoff is because the lifers die in prison. The fact that it resembles a power law is not a big deal because they are a common attributes of complex adaptive processes. The process that results in incarceration is complex, adaptive and adversarial. One of the characteristics of an adaptive system is they adapt to alterations in their environment and reforms normally do not turn out as expected.

Posted by: John Neff | Dec 2, 2018 10:30:27 PM

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