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Drug Offenders in Jail

  1. The Department of Justice reported that at year-end 2003, federal prisons held a total of 158,426 inmates, of whom 86,972 (55%) were drug offenders. By comparison in 2000 federal prisons held 131,739 total inmates of whom 74,276 (56%) were drug offenders, and in 1995 federal prisons held a total of 88,658 inmates of whom 52,782 (60%) were drug offenders.

    Source:  Harrison, Paige M. & Allen J. Beck, PhD, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2005 (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, November 2006), p. 10, Table 14.

  2. In 2003, drug law violators comprised 20.0% of all adults serving time in State prisons - 250,900 out of 1,256,400 State prison inmates.

    Source:  Harrison, Paige M. & Allen J. Beck, PhD, US epartment of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2005 (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, November 2006), p. 9.

  3. According to the US Justice Department, 27.9% of drug offenders in state prisons are serving time for possession; 69.4% are serving time for trafficking offenses; and 2.7% are in for "other."

    Source: Mumola, Christopher J., and Karberg, Jennifer C., "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Oct. 2006) (NCJ213530), p. 4.

  4. According to the Justice Department, 5.3% of drug offenders in federal prisons are serving time for possession; 91.4% are serving time for trafficking offenses; and 3.3% are in for "other."

    Source: Mumola, Christopher J., and Karberg, Jennifer C., "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Oct. 2006) (NCJ213530), p. 4.

  5. Over 80% of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 was due to drug convictions.

    Source: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 1996 (Washington DC: US Department of Justice, 1997).

  6. "Between 1984 and 1999, the number of defendants charged with a drug offense in U.S. district courts increased about 3% annually, on average, from 11,854 to 29,306."

    Source: Scalia, John, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Federal Drug Offenders, 1999 with Trends 1984-99 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, August 2001), p. 7.

  7. "As a result of increased prosecutions and longer time served in prison, the number of drug offenders in Federal prisons increased more than 12% annually, on average, from 14,976 during 1986 to 68,360 during 1999."

    Source: Scalia, John, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Federal Drug Offenders, 1999 with Trends 1984-99 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, August 2001), p. 7.

  8. "In 1995, 23% of state prisoners were incarcerated for drug offenses in contrast to 9% of drug offenders in state prisons in 1986. In fact, the proportion of drug offenders in the state prison population nearly tripled by 1990, when it reached 21%, and has remained at close to that level since then. The proportion of federal prisoners held for drug violations doubled during the past 10 years. In 1985, 34% of federal prisoners were incarcerated for drug violations. By 1995, the proportion had risen to 60%."

    Source: Craig Haney, Ph.D., and Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., "The Past and Future of U.S. Prison Policy: Twenty-five Years After the Stanford Prison Experiment," American Psychologist, Vol. 53, No. 7 (July 1998), p. 715.

  9. According to ONDCP, federal spending to incarcerate drug offenders totals nearly $3 Billion a year -- $2.525 Billion by the Bureau of Prisons, and $429.4 Million by Federal Prisoner Detention.

    Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy, "National Drug Control Strategy: FY 2003 Budget Summary" (Washington, DC: Office of the President, February 2002), Table 3, pp. 7-9.

  10. According to the American Corrections Association, the average daily cost per state prison inmate per day in the US in 2005 was $67.55. That means it costs states approximately $16,948,295 per day to imprison drug offenders, or $6,186,127,675 per year.

    Sources: American Correctional Association, 2006 Directory of Adult and Juvenile Correctional Departments, Institutions, Agencies and Probation and Parole Authorities, 67th Edition (Alexandria, VA: ACA, 2006), p. 16; Harrison, Paige M. & Allen J. Beck, PhD, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2005 (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, November 2006), p. 9.

  11. "17% of State and 18% of Federal prisoners committed their crime to obtain money for drugs."

    Source: Mumola, Christopher J., and Karberg, Jennifer C., "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Oct. 2006) (NCJ213530), p. 1.

  12. "Violent offenders in State prison (50%) were less likely than drug (72%) and property (64%) offenders to have used drugs in the month prior to their offense."

    Source: Mumola, Christopher J., and Karberg, Jennifer C., "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Oct. 2006) (NCJ213530), p. 1.

  13. "Violent offenders (47%) were the only offender group in State prisons with less than half meeting the DSM-IV criteria for drug dependence or abuse. Property and drug offenders (63% of each) were the most likely to be drug dependent or abusing. "Drug offenders (52%) were the only group of Federal inmates with at least half meeting the drug dependence or abuse criteria. Property offenders (27%) reported the lowest percentage of drug dependence or abuse."

    Source: Mumola, Christopher J., and Karberg, Jennifer C., "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Oct. 2006) (NCJ213530), p. 7.

  14. According to a federal survey of jail inmates, of the total 440,670 jail inmates in the US in 2002, 112,447 were drug offenders: 48,823 for possession, 56,574 for trafficking.

    Source: Karberg, Jennifer C. and Doris J. James, US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Substance Dependence, Abuse, and Treatment of Jail Inmates, 2002" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, July 2005), Table 7, p. 6.

  15. According to a federal survey of jail inmates, in 2002, of the 96,359 violent offenders in jail, 37.6% used alcohol at the time of their offense, 21.8% used drugs, and 47.2% used alcohol or drugs; of the 112,895 property offenders in jail that year, 28.5% used alcohol at the time of their offense, 32.5% used drugs, and 46.8% used alcohol or drugs; of the 112,447 drug offenders in jail that year, 22.4% used alcohol at the time of their offense, 43.2% used drugs, and 51.7% used drugs or alcohol at the time of their offense.

    Source: Karberg, Jennifer C. and Doris J. James, US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Substance Dependence, Abuse, and Treatment of Jail Inmates, 2002" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, July 2005), Table 7, p. 6.

  16. According to the US Justice Department, in federal prisons, "While the number of offenders in each major offense category increased [from 1995 to 2003], the number incarcerated for a drug offense accounted for the largest percentage of the total growth (49%), followed by public-order offenders (38%)."

    Source: Harrison, Paige M. & Allen J. Beck, Allen J., PhD, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2005 (Washington DC: US Department of Justice, Nov. 2006), p. 10.

  17. According to the US Justice Department, between 1990 and 2000 "Overall, the percentage of violent Federal inmates declined from 17% to 10%. While the number of offenders in each major offense category increased, the number incarcerated for a drug offense accounted for the largest percentage of the total growth (59%), followed by public-order offenders (32%)."

    Source: Harrison, Paige M. & Allen J. Beck, Allen J., PhD, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2001 (Washington DC: US Department of Justice, July 2002), p. 14.

  18. "Department of corrections data show that about a fourth of those initially imprisoned for nonviolent crimes are sentenced for a second time for committing a violent offense. Whatever else it reflects, this pattern highlights the possibility that prison serves to transmit violent habits and values rather than to reduce them."

    Source: Craig Haney, Ph.D., and Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., "The Past and Future of U.S. Prison Policy: Twenty-five Years After the Stanford Prison Experiment," American Psychologist, Vol. 53, No. 7 (July 1998), p. 721.

  19. "We must have law enforcement authorities address the issue because if we do not, prevention, education, and treatment messages will not work very well. But having said that, I also believe that we have created an American gulag."

    Source: Source: Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey (USA, Ret.), Director, ONDCP, Keynote Address, Opening Plenary Session, National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 19, 1996, Washington, DC, on the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/MeetSum/CODA/Keynote2.html last accessed May 25, 2007.

  20. According to the Department of Justice, studies of recidivism reveal that "the amount of time inmates serve in prison does not increase or decrease the likelihood of recidivism, whether recidivism is measured as parole revocation, re-arrest, reconviction, or return to prison."

    Source: An Analysis of Non-Violent Drug Offenders with Minimal Criminal Histories, Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice (1994, February), p. 41.

  21. The table below shows the average sentence (mean and median) imposed on Federal prisoners for various offenses in 2000. <>
    Average Federal Sentence
    Offense   Mean     Median  
    All Offenses   56.8 months     33.0 months  
    All Felonies   58.0 months     36.0 months  
    Violent Felonies  63.0 months  
    Drug Felonies   75.6 months     55.0 months  
    Property Felony - Fraud   22.5 months     14.0 months  
    Property Felony - Other   33.4 months     18.0 months  
    Public Order Felony - Regulatory   28.0 months     15.0 months  
    Public Order Felony - Other   46.5 months     30.0 months  
    Misdemeanors   10.3 months     6.0 months  

    Source: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Federal Criminal Case Processing, 2000, With Trends 1982-2000 (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, November 2001), p. 12, Table 6.

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