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Publication Felony Sentences in State Courts, 1990

Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., John M. Dawson, Bureau of Justice Statistics

March 1, 1993    NCJ 140186

According to the 1990 survey, an estimated 168,000 persons were convicted of drug trafficking in 1990, more than double the number reported in the 1986 survey. About 49 percent of drug traffickers received a State prison sentence. Drug traffickers and possessors comprised 33 percent of felons convicted in State courts in 1990, while violent offenders comprised 18 percent, and burglars and larcenists made up most of the rest. State courts sentenced 46 percent of those convicted to State prisons (average sentence, 6.25 years) and 25 percent to a local jail (average sentence, 8 months); the remaining 29 percent were sentenced to probation (average sentence, 3.5 years) with no jail or prison time. Over 90 percent of convicted felons pleaded guilty to charges against them. The 75 largest urban counties nationwide accounted for 37 percent of the population but 48 percent of felony convictions; 52 percent of felons convicted nationally were white, 47 percent were black, and 86 percent were male. 12 tables


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