U.S.: 1 In 8 Federal Drug Prisoners Serving Time For Marijuana Offenses
By Steve Elliott
More than 12 percent of federal drug prisoners are incarcerated for marijuana-related violations, according to data compiled by the federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Sentencing Commission, published by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
With 94,678 federal inmates incarcerated for a drug violation as their most serious offense, 12.4 percent (11,533 inmates) are serving time for violating cannabis laws, reports Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) at The Daily Chronic.
Most federal marijuana prisoners are incarcerated for trafficking violations. The average sentence for those in federal prison for marijuana is 88 months.
Nearly half -- 44.3 percent -- of federal marijuana inmates have minimal crime histories and have not previously served time in prison. An overwhelming majority -- 85 percent -- did not possess any firearms.
More than a third of these prisoners, 36.5 percent, are 40 or older. Thirty-five percent of them aren't American citizens.
The percentage of marijuana-related federal prisoners has remained basically flat for the past decade.
To review the full text of the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, click here.
Photo: The Weed Blog