Did you know that there are roughly 199,000 federal inmates in the nation?
Of this number, around 50% are individuals who have been convicted of
drug crimes. Even more surprising than this is the fact that from 1988
to 2012, the sentences for these types of crimes have been over doubled
in length. Now, a new federal sentencing reform is close to being passed
and it could help save money and keep the lower level drug crime offenders
from serving an extensive sentence.
With current, higher minimum sentencing guidelines, it costs roughly $1.5
billion to keep some of these federal inmates imprisoned. This is because
even those offenders who have no history of violence or who have committed
low-level offenses are given longer minimum sentences or have life without
parole for certain drug crimes.
The new reform gives judges the power to deliver a shorter sentence if
they feel the case is not as serious.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t fix the issue regarding the current federal
prison population. Based on a
new study, of the current drug offenders in federal prison, more than 50% of them
have no history of a violent crime. Less than 14% are high-level leaders.
Less than 14% have a history of violence or violent crimes.
The current sentencing guidelines often rely on prosecutor’s using the minimum
sentencing on low-level offenders in order to reach the higher, leaders
of drug operations. A law from 2010 shows that this tactic is not necessary
and even when shorter sentences were offered, low-level offenders were
still willing to cooperate.
While the proposed reform may help a little bit, further reforms will be
needed to make any kind of real dent in the federal prison population.
If you were arrested for and charged with a drug crime, rely on a Columbus
drug crime attorney to help you navigate the legal process. At The Koffel
Law Firm, we are familiar with the statistics involving low-level drug
offenders. We work to build a strong case on your behalf and defend your rights.
Call today and learn how we may be able to help you.