Sentencing: Correctional Supervision At All-Time High With Over Seven Million People Tied to the System

According to the latest annual reports from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the number of people in the United States behind bars or on parole or probation has jumped to an all-time high. More than seven million people are enjoying the tender mercies of state and federal criminal justice systems, the statistical agency reported.

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prison dorm
In a pair of reports released Thursday -- one on the number of people in jail or prison at the end of 2005 and one on the number of people on probation or parole at the end of 2005 -- BJS found that drug offenders make up about 20% of all state prisoners (251,000 out of 1.25 million) and about 55% of federal prisoners (87,000 out of 158,000 -- at the end of 2003, the latest stats available from the feds). In both cases, the numbers show a slight downward trend in the number of drug prisoners as a percentage of all prisoners.

The prison and jail population continues to grow. State prison populations increased by 1.9% during 2005, while the federal system grew by 4%. In the federal system, drug offenders were responsible for 49% of the growth in the prisoner population. Overall, at the end of 2005, nearly 2.2 million people were behind bars in the US, or one out of every 136 residents.

The states with the fastest growing prison populations were South Dakota (up 12%), Montana (up 11%), and Kentucky (up 10%). Eleven additional states had increases of more than 5%, while 11 other states reported decreases in their prison populations.

Some 672,000 people were released from prison in 2005, surely contributing to the 784,000 parolees in the country. Additionally, more than 4.15 million people are on probation, 28% of them for drug offenses. That means more than 1.1 million people are being supervised by the criminal justice system for ingesting, possessing, or trading in the wrong substances.

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"I think these numbers just don't register with most Americans," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "They only make sense when you point out that the United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population; that we rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens; and that we now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe -- with a much larger population -- incarcerates for all offenses. Imagine what a difference it would make if we just stopped locking up people for nonviolent drug offenses," he added.

"I spent 12 years behind bars for a first time nonviolent offense," said Anthony Papa, communications specialist at the Drug Policy Alliance." Many of the people I met were serving long sentences behind bars on drug charges and were not major drug dealers. They were people who sold drugs to support a habit. These individuals, their families and society would have benefited from receiving treatment, not jail time."

Another year, another record number of prisoners, probationers, and parolees.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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mandatory sentencing

Its about as immoral and unethical as those people occupying the white house white house,and if our new democratic congress doe not put a halt to this madness we might as well go back to the republicans caue their really is no difference , in behavior or thought process`s

only if someone could help me

hi, my wife and i were arrested on oct.21,2005 for posession with intent to sell of marijuana....the local cops did a sting, they got people to give verbal,and 1 written statement against my husband.they got a search warrent, and came to our business and siezed money about $1,500.00and watches that they claimed that they were bootleg, copied cds, and dvds, and pipes.it was a specialty store, we also sold t-shirts,lava lamps, and other items, and they siezed my jeep wrangler.....but i was able to get back my jeep...but the people who they arrested inorder to make there arrest against me,well i was charged with what thoes people had on them..and every charge of posession with intent to sell of marijuana was like 1 gram each.and they found some in my store and the amount of that came to like 28 grams.but we had hired a lawyer, and about 5 months into the case our lawyer had file motions wrong, and did alot of other stuff wrong that were told by another lawyer, but this lawyer got everyone made at us, the state prosecutor, the cops, and so on..so about 10 months into this thing we dcided to go and talk to other attorneys, we talked to about 20 attorneys, and none of them had anything bad about the lawyer we had until we talked to this last attorney, and she had told us that the lawyer that we had at the time was filing motions wrong, and she also had said that the arrests that they made inorder to get a case against me were warrentless arrest, and she told us that they could not do that, and we were told that she would beable to get thoes charges dropped.she claimed that she could do a better job than the lawyer we had at the time,and she had claimed that she could run circles around the state prosecutor, she had said that she has worn down that state prosecutor, and we had asked her if there is going to be any jail time and she said no, there is going to be no jail time since you a first time offenders..so we kept asking her" are you sure that you can do a better job"?.and she kept saying yes.so we had decided to hire her, and after we had given her the money, she was very, very hard to get ahold of, she never returned our calls, she claimed that she never got faxes that we had sent to her.so in september we went to court, and the new lawyer that we hired did not show up, she had sent someone else to cover for her, and this lawyer did not know anything about our case, our names, or anything, and on that day a pretrial was set on thursday, october 26,2006, and then a trial date was set for the monday afetr that, the 29th of october, and we were told not to worry about the trial date because it be moved to a further date if need be...so on october 26, 2006 we went to court, and we were finally able to talk to the new lawyer that we had hired 2 months before.and she had claimed that she was finally able to talk to the state prosecutor, and the state prosecutor was giving us a plea of 6 months in jail, 5 years probation,500 hours of comunity service and a $10,000.00 restitution for selling a cop a $5.00 bootleg dvd.that was for me, and my wife got 3 years probation, and 50 hours of comunity service,and she did not know that there was ever anything in the store, nobody made statments against her, but because she was in the store when they found the marijuane they charged her with posession with intent to sell of marijuana and this is our first offence ever, i am 47 years old, and my wife is 40 years old.but we, and then we had asked the lawyer about the jail time, and she said that we need to take this plea or it was going to get alot worse.and she had said that there is nothing she could do for us.she never did any kind plea barganing, like if my wife was going to get probation then there is going to be no jail time, or if i was going to any jail time, then they need to drop the charges against my wife.this lawyer did not do anything like that, like she had claimed that she could do before we had given her the money..but the prosecutor had said to this lawyer that she had offered this plea bargain before when we had the other lawyer, and we had told her that he never relayed the message as a plea bargain just as a passing message, and our last lawyer had told the prosecutor that there was not going to be any jail time, so the lawyer that we had at the pre trial had told the prosecutor that, and the prosecutor told that we were lying, and we better take this plea or else, so we had 5 minutes to decide our fate, and we basiclly had no choice in the matter, we were basiclly threatened into taking this plea, either take this plea or else........but we had took the plea, and when we went befor the judge, we had asked the judge if i could go for my sentencing in about a month, so i could get my finances in order, and he said that would be ok, and then the prosecutor had said after that if i do not show up on that day , then i will automatically get 49 years..but befor i went back to court to recieve my sentencing, i had tried to talk to my last lawyer, i emailed him, and he emailed me back and had said that he can not to talk to me or help me in any way because i have a lawyer,i was scared i did not know what to do, all i knew is that i did not want to go to jail... and then he went back to the lawyer that i had at the time and told her that i was trying to talk to him..but about a week before i was sentence i had called my lawyer a couple of times and she did not keep her appointments, and then finally i was able to have a phone conference with her, and while i had her on the phone she had threatened me about trying to talk to other lawyers, and she had said if i do not stop what i was doing she would not show up for my sentencing, and she would take back her plea and leave as an open plea, and she said no lawyer in there right mind would do that.......she basiclly threatened me, she was very nasty with me, she yelled at me like was a kid,i just wish she should have remembered who had given who the money to hire a lawyer, it was us who had given her the money, she was suppose to represent us, and not threaten us in any way, and be so nasty towards me, she was not there at all to stand up for me, or fight for me in any way....all i know is that she had lied to us in the begining of this, just so she could get our money...she is a fraud,a lier, and she deceives people when they are in there worst....she is the worse lawyer that i had ever delt with in my life.i put a complaint into the florida bar association, and i found out that she has 3 other complaints against her, and i had filed a complaint against her to the better business bur.and i am not stopping there with these complaints against this lawyer ......she is going to remember who i am after i am done with all of this..........i need someones help in the worse kind of way,so if someone could help me in some way,i would be so greatful... i look under every rock, and behind every day for someone to help me in any way that they can.........so if someone can help me, you can email me at [email protected] ..

American HOLOCAUST. Make no mistake about it!

And NOBODY --including, and especially, those who (in many cases were even paid many thousands of our heard-earned) are supposed to defend us from this Great Evil--is immune from the greed and corruption of capitalizing on the gross, goernment-incflicted misery ceaslessly imposed upon our fellow citizens.

Since it's virtually impossible to get a fair trial for drugs in their Kagaroo Courts, it's best just to use the public defender because all any of them do is just shuffle papers becuase it makes no differnce to them whether you go to jail or not.

Sure, there may be a few principled defense attorneys that will go the extra mile as David against Goliath but, I swear by Jesus , they are a microscopic minority.

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