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Felony Sentences in State Courts, 1994

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EST         BJS
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 1997            202/633-3047

ALMOST A THIRD OF ALL CONVICTED STATE FELONS
    WERE SENTENCED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING 
               OR POSSESSION

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Drug offenders made up
almost a third of the 872,200 felons convicted in
state courts during 1994, the Justice Department
announced today.  Property crimes accounted for
another third and violent crimes for about a
fifth.
     The number of state convictions in 1994
declined from 1992 (893,600), but was higher than
in 1988 (667,400), when the Department's Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS) first conducted this
biennial survey.
     In 1994, 89 percent of state convicted felons
pleaded guilty, and the typical convicted felon
received a sentence six and one-half months after
being arrested.  In 1988, despite fewer cases and
a higher percentage of guilty pleas (91 percent),
the average case had taken longer--seven months.
     The proportion of state felons sentenced to
prison in 1994 (45 percent) was generally
unchanged from 1988 (44 percent).  Felons who were
sentenced to a state prison during 1994 had an
average sentence of six years, but were likely to
serve about 38 percent of that term--or about two
years--assuming that 1994 release policies will
continue.
     The average sentence to a local jail was six
months.  The average probation time was a little
more than three years.  
      In addition, a fine was imposed on 21
percent of the convicted felons, restitution on 18
percent and community service on 7 percent. 
Treatment was ordered for 7 percent.
     State felony convictions throughout the
country during 1994 were for the following
offenses:

     Violent crimes  . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.9%
          Murder and manslaughter  . .   1.4
          Rape . . . . . . . . . . . .   2.3
          Robbery  . . . . . . . . . .   5.3
          Aggravated assault . . . . .   7.5
          Other violent crimes*  . . .   2.4
     Property crimes . . . . . . . . . . . . 31.6 
          Burglary . . . . . . . . . .  11.2
          Larceny  . . . . . . . . . .  13.0
          Fraud and forgery  . . . . .   7.3
     Drug offenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31.4
          Possession . . . . . . . . .  12.5
          Trafficking. . . . . . . . .  19.0
     Weapons offenses . . . . . . . . . . .   3.6 
     Other non-violent crimes** . . . . .    14.6
                                            -----
        TOTAL                               100% 
     -----
     *Other violent crimes include negligent
     manslaughter, sexual assault and
     kidnapping. 
     **Other non-violent crimes include receiving
     stolen property and vandalism.

     Forty-eight percent of the felons convicted
of drug trafficking were sent to a state prison,
23 percent were sent to a jail and 29 percent were
given probation without incarceration.  Of those
convicted of illegal drug possession, 34 percent
were sent to prison, 32 percent to jail and 34
percent were given probation.
     People in their twenties comprised about 20
percent of the adult population in the United
States but 43 percent of the state convicted
felons.  Half of the convicted state felons were
29 years old or older.
     Fifty-one percent of the convicted felons
were white, 48 percent were black and 1 percent
were of other races.  
     The data are from the bulletin "Felony
Sentences in State Courts, 1994" (NCJ-163391),
written by BJS statisticians Patrick A. Langan and
Jodi M. Brown.  It is available for news media
members only on the Internet at:

 http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/preview/sneakpk.htm

     It will be available to the general public
beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST, Sunday, January 12, on
BJS's Internet home page by clicking on "What's
new at BJS."  The BJS webpage address is: 

          http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ 

     Additional BJS materials may be obtained from
the BJS fax-on-demand service (301/251-5550) or
calling the BJS Clearinghouse on 1-800/732-3277.  
  
After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354 

(end of file)
Date Created: May 27, 2009