Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.


Prison population statistics

Many of the prisoners in Illinois are locked up because of drug-related offenses. According to Urban Institute researchers who looked at Bureau of Prisons data from 2012, a little more than half of the almost 200,000 federal prisoners in the United States are being held for a drug conviction. Nearly all of the alleged drug offenders who are in prison were convicted of a trafficking crime, and 35 percent are serving their first prison sentence.

From 1980 to 2012, the prison population in the United States grew by almost 800 percent. Many people blame the so-called 'war on drugs" for this increase in U.S. prisoners. As of 2012, the vast majority of alleged drug offenders in U.S. prisons were male, 76 percent were minorities and 25 percent were non-U.S. citizens.

Drug activities involving cocaine result in more prison sentences than activities involving other drugs. In 2012, 54.2 percent of drug offenders in U.S. prisons were behind bars for a cocaine-related incident. Prisoners accused of crack cocaine-related offenses made up 28.4 percent of the prison population while prisoners accused of powdered cocaine-related offenses accounted for 25.8 percent of the prison population. Methamphetamine offenders made up 23.7 percent of prisoners in 2012.

A person who is facing a possible prison sentence for drug charges may have a better chance of working out a plea deal for reduced charges with assistance from a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to help a defendant to argue that a drug addiction played a role in his or her activities and that a drug treatment program would be a better solution than a prison sentence.

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