Image 6 57% Of State Inmates Serving 10+ Years

According to a task force created by the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), around 57 percent of inmates who were incarcerated in state prisons in 2019 were serving terms of 10 years or longer. This represents an increase of 11 percent over the previous decade.

However, the researchers who conducted the study on the nation’s use of lengthy prison sentences discovered that despite the fact that the number of people serving lengthy sentences in state prisons continues to increase, the number of individuals who have recently been admitted to state prisons having been sentenced to terms longer than 10 years has remained relatively low.

The percentage of new state prison admissions that were individuals serving lengthy terms was merely 17 percent.

Researchers referred to this phenomenon as a “stacking effect,” and it was the cause of the steady increase in the number of people serving lengthy sentences.

Image 7 57% Of State Inmates Serving 10+ Years

During a webinar held on Wednesday to coincide with the release of the study, the Director of the Long Sentences Task Force, John Maki, stated that the study provides a “ground level understanding of what the numbers look like.” However, this demonstrates that there is a great deal more about long sentences that we do not know.

According to the findings of the study, the amount of time people have spent serving sentences of 10 years or more has increased.

The group’s average length of service served rose from 9.7 years in 2005 to 15.5 years in 2019; this rise occurred between those two years.

The CCJ task team intends to proceed with more research on the consequences of lengthy sentences.

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The figures show that 57 percent of people now serving sentences of more than 10 years were responsible for committing a violent felony.

In comparison, 43 percent of those incarcerated did so for non-violent acts such as possessing illegal drugs or guns, among other charges.

According to the findings of the study, another effect of long sentences is that those over the age of 55 have become the population serving long sentences at the fastest growing rate, increasing from more than 8 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2019.

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The research also found that the discrepancies in the length of sentences handed down to blacks and whites have grown by three percent from the year 2005.

According to the findings of the study, African Americans were given higher terms for violent crimes as compared to whites, while whites were given longer sentences for some property offences. These findings were based on the consideration of convicted offenses.

This is the first report in a series that will be published by the Task Force on Long Sentences, which plans to publish recommendations for reforms in policy and practice in the month of December.

During the course of the panel discussion, Jenifer Warren, Senior Editor at CCJ and Director of Media Relations, stated that “This is sort of our first snapshot of what’s going on with long sentences.”

Sally Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General of the United States who also served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and Trey Gowdy, a veteran federal and state prosecutor who served in the House of Representatives for a total of four terms, are the co-chairs of the Task Force, which was established in 2022.

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They were joined by a total of 14 other members, each of whom represented a diverse set of experiences and points of view. These members included people who had been victims or survivors of crime, people who had previously been incarcerated, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, courts, and corrections.

Get the full report here