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Publication Violent Felons in Large Urban Counties

Brian A. Reaves, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

August 6, 2006    NCJ 205289

Presents data collected from a representative sample of felony cases that resulted in a felony conviction for a violent offense in 40 of the Nation's 75 largest counties. The study tracks cases for up to 1 year from the date of filing through final disposition. Defendants convicted of murder, rape, robbery, assault or other violent felonies are described in terms of demographic characteristics (gender, race, Hispanic origin, age), prior arrests and convictions, criminal justice status at time of arrest, type of pretrial release or detention, type of adjudication, and sentence received.


  • Thirty-six percent of violent felons had an active criminal justice status at the time of their arrest. This included 18% on probation, 12% on release pending disposition of a prior case, and 7% on parole.
  • A majority (56%) of violent felons had a prior conviction record. Thirty-eight percent had a prior felony conviction and 15% had a previous conviction for a violent felony.
  • Eight-one percent of violent felons were sentenced to incarceration with 50% going to prison and 31% to jail. Nineteen percent received a probation term without incarceration.

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