The Nation : Federal Convictions Jump Dramatically
A 161.4% jump in drug convictions paced a 48.7% increase in defendants found guilty of federal crimes between 1980 and 1987, the Justice Department said. Results of a Bureau of Justice Statistics study showed that by 1987, a larger proportion of convicted defendants received prison terms from federal judges and their sentences were on average 11 months longer than those imposed in 1980, the department said. The number of criminal defendants convicted in federal courts nationwide increased from 29,943 in 1980 to 44,518 in 1987, while the conviction rate for defendants prosecuted in federal courts increased from 76% in 1980 to 81% in 1987, the study said. Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh said the figures demonstrated the need for more money to build additional prisons to house the increasing number of convicted defendants sent behind bars.