Started by spw over 4 years ago, 7 replies
America has the highest incarnation rate in the World putting more people in prison than any other country.
A substantial number of drug law violators sentenced to incarceration in Bureau of Prisons custody can be classified as "low-level". Using one set of criteria which limited offenders to no current or prior violence in their records, no involvement in sophisticated criminal activity and no prior commitment, there were 16,316 Federal prisoners who could be considered low-level drug law violators. They constituted 36.1 percent of all drug law offenders in the prison system and 21.2 percent of the total sentenced Federal prison population.
If we further restricted the population to those offenders with zero criminal history points - according to U.S. Sentencing Commission rules, there were 12,727 Federal prisoners who could be considered low-level drug law violators. They constituted 28.2 percent of all drug offenders in the prison system and 16.6 percent of all sentenced prisoners.
The average sentence of the low-level drug law offender group was 81.5 months which means that, under Guideline sentencing (must serve 85% of sentence), these individuals will serve, on average, at least 69 months before release from prison.
Even with a liberal interpretation of criminal justice contact (where criminal justice contact was defined as an arrest regardless of disposition), the majority of low-level offenders had no prior recorded contact with the criminal justice system. The data do not reflect criminal justice contacts outside the United States. Therefore, criminal justice contacts for non-citizens may be under-reported.
Based on the study sample, two-thirds of low-level drug offenders currently in the Bureau of Prisons (1994) received mandatory-minimum sentences. Even among low-level drug offenders, sentences have increased 150% above what they were prior to the implementation of Sentencing Guidelines and significant sentencing legislation which established mandatory-minimum sentences for primarily drug and weapons offenses.
Among the low-level offenders, 42.3 percent were couriers or played peripheral roles in drug trafficking.