Prisons & Drug Offenders

Statistics and other data regarding people under the control of the corrections system because of a drug offense. This includes people serving time in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities, as well as people sentenced to probation or serving time on parole.

People Serving Time in Federal Prisons in the US For Whom Drug Possession is the Most Serious Offense

The US Dept. of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that on Sept. 30, 2012, there were a total of 187,773 people sentenced and serving time in US federal prison for any offense. Of those, 97,214 people (51.8% of the total) had as their most serious charge a drug offense: 96,907 of them for drug trafficking or manufacture (51.6% of the total), 296 for drug possession (0.16% of the total), and 11 for "other"* drug offenses.

45,300 People At Year-End 2016 Serving Sentences in State Prisons in the US Whose Most Serious Offense Was Possession

The US Dept. of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that at yearend 2016, 1,288,466 people were serving sentences in state prisons in the US, of whom 190,100 (14.75% of the total) had as their most serious offence a drug charge: 45,300 for drug possession (3.51% of the total), and 144,800 for "other" drug offenses, including manufacturing and sale (11.24% of the total).

Number Of People Serving Time For Drug, Violent, Property, and Other Offenses In US Prisons

Federal Prisons:
"• Almost half of sentenced federal prisoners on September 30, 2017 (the most recent date for which federal offense data are available) were serving time for drug trafficking (tables 14 and 15).

"• More than a third (38%, or 64,300) of federal prisoners were imprisoned for a public-order offense, including 17% (28,300) for a weapons offense and 7% (11,100) for an adjudicated immigration offense.

Estimated Number Of People In The US Sentenced To State and Federal Prison For Marijuana Offenses

Estimated Number Of People In The US Sentenced To State and Federal Prison For Marijuana Offenses
Total Federal Prisoners 2004 = 170,535
Total State Prisoners 2004 = 1,244,311
Percent of federal prisoners held for drug law violations = 55%
Percent of state prisoners held for drug law violations = 21%
Marijuana/hashish, Percent of federal drug offenders, 2004 = 12.4%
Marijuana/hashish, Percent of state drug offenders, 2004 = 12.7%

Drug Treatment Admissions and Incarceration Rates

Drug Treatment Admissions and Incarceration Rates: "Increased admissions to drug treatment are associated with reduced incarceration rates. States with a higher drug treatment admission rate than the national average send, on average, 100 fewer people to prison per 100,000 in the population than states that have lower than average drug treatment admissions. Of the 20 states that admit the most people to treatment per 100,000, 19 had incarceration rates below the national average.

US Prisons and Drug Offenses

US Prisons and Drug Offenses: "The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 2 million people in American prisons or jails. Approximately one-quarter of those people held in U.S. prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country.

Offense Distribution of People Serving Time In State Prisons in the US, by Race/Ethnicity and Gender

"• More than half (54% or 707,900 prisoners) of all state prisoners sentenced to more than 1 year at year-end 2015 (the most recent year for which state prison offense data are available) were serving sentences for violent offenses on their current term of imprisonment (table 12; table 13).

"• At year-end 2015, an estimated 14% of sentenced prisoners (177,600 prisoners) were serving time in state prison for murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, and an additional 12% of state prisoners (161,900) had been sentenced for rape or sexual assault.

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