Aggressively Protecting Your Rights

Most federal inmates are behind bars for drug offenses

| Sep 24, 2015 | Drug Charges

Most people in the prison system in the United States are behind bars for the same reason: drug offenses. On the federal level, a full 50 percent of inmates have been sentenced because of drugs. On the state level, the number sits a lot lower, at just 16 percent. Still, it’s clear that this is one of the leading causes of incarceration, and it’s absolutely the leader in the federal system.

By way of comparison, it’s worth noting that a mere 7 percent of those in federal prison have been convicted of violent crimes. For women, that number was even lower, at just 4 percent. It’s also worth noting that 36 percent had been convicted of public order offenses, while 9 percent were behind bars for offenses related to immigration.

In state prisons, the numbers are massively different. Violent offenders actually make up the majority of those behind bars, with 53 percent. The majority of these (166,200 people) had committed sexual assault or rape, while slightly fewer (165,600) had committed manslaughter or murder.

Drug offenses are also a leading cause of probation in the U.S., though the numbers are not quite as drastic. In 2013, there were a total of 3,910,647 individuals on probation. A full 977,662 people, or roughly 25 percent of the total, had committed a drug related offense as the most serious crime on record.

The numbers make it very clear that the government takes drug offenses seriously, and you could land behind bars if convicted. If you’ve been accused, then, you must know all of your legal defense options in Minnesota.

Source: Drug War Facts, “People Sentenced For Drug Offenses In The US Correctional System – See more at:,” accessed Sep. 24, 2015