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The faces of federal drug convictions are diverse

Federal drug convictions often mean lengthy prison sentences. When you delve into the demographics of these convictions, as well as the drugs associated with the convictions, you can get a good look at the big picture. A recent report written by the Urban Institute was recently released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. What the study found is very interesting.

Just over half of all federal prisoners who are incarcerated for drugs had a charge that was associated with crack cocaine or powder cocaine. The majority of the inmates who were incarcerated for crack cocaine were black.

If you add methamphetamine-related convictions to crack cocaine and powder cocaine, about 77 percent of all federal inmates incarcerated for drug crimes are included. Interestingly, methamphetamine convictions were primarily white, Hispanic, and Latino.

Crack cocaine convictions were especially interesting in this study. Around 20 percent of the people convicted of crack cocaine charges were sentenced to at least 20 years in prison. More than 60 percent of people with crack cocaine convictions were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.

Recent actions have reduced the sentences for many of the current people who were in federal prison for drug sentences. The sentence reductions have only been possible for people who were convicted of non-violent drug offenses. In fact, 34 percent of the people who were included in the study were in a low category in the point system that is used by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

If you are facing federal drug charges, you might be looking at harsh penalties if you are convicted. Exploring your options for a defense might help you to decide what to do for your defense strategy.

Source: The Washington Post, "Who are the people in federal prison for drug crimes?," Mark Berman, Nov. 02, 2015

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