More insanity; precious resources wasted! We need, should have, and in time will get: sensible immigration laws/policies, and an end to the War on Drugs!
The madness continues with more than 96% of defendants pleading guilty. The good news is that more people are becoming interested in criminal justice, which is great, because the more they learn the more they will see what a train wreck the system has become!
Excerpts from the Article:
Immigration offenses, followed by drug trafficking, were the most common crimes sentenced in federal courts last year, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC).
Reflecting the former administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, immigration violations alone accounted for 41 percent of the caseload, a slight uptick from 38 percent the previous year, the USSC said in its annual report.
The majority of those sentenced were Hispanic and just over 46 percent of the Hispanics were non-U.S. citizens.
The picture of immigration enforcement continues to be murky this year.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University reported Monday that the number of non-citizens arrested by immigration authorities for being in the U.S. without proper visas and booked into civil detention dropped from 5,119 during January 2021 to just 1,970 during February 2021, at the end of President Joe Biden’s first full month in office.
“This was a drop of 62 percent just in a single month,” TRAC said. In contrast, those turned over to ICE for detention following arrests by the Border Patrol or at ports of entry and are thus subject to federal prosecution climbed from 3,024 to 4,696 in February.
While civil cases are adjudicated by immigration courts, which aren’t part of the federal criminal court system, federal prosecutors can bring criminal charges against individuals caught entering the U.S. illegally, under Title 8 of the U.S. Criminal Code.
In other findings reported by the USSC, nearly 88 percent of the 64,565 individuals convicted of felony and Class A misdemeanor offenses in federal court were men—the majority of them appearing on immigration or drug trafficking charges.
The most common age range of offenders was 41-50.
However, the overall figure represented a decrease of 11,973 cases from the previous fiscal year “and reflects the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of the courts,” the commission said.
The figures were contained in the USSC’s 2020 Annual Report and Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics which looks at recidivism rates, as well as crime trends, based on federal offender sentencing data.
The researchers noted that 2020 was a year unlike any other, detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic brought on “unique challenges and opportunities for technological advancement” for the criminal justice system.
To conduct their research, the authors looked at information from the federal courts that the commission collected on individuals sentenced between October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020, for whom sentencing documents were received as of February 18, 2021.
Although immigration offenses were the most widely prosecuted federal crimes in FY20, researchers focused as well on the opioid crisis, noting that drug trafficking still made up a significant amount of federal crimes. Methamphetamine continued to be the most common narcotic prosecuted in the federal system, and accounted for a steadily growing portion of the drug caseload (up from 31 percent in FY16 and 42 percent in FY19 to 46 percent in FY20).
Moreover, methamphetamine trafficking continued to be the most severely punished federal drug crime with an average sentence of 95 months. Despite the harsh sentences for methamphetamine tracking, average sentences across all other major drug types (crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, and marijuana) decreased.
Some two thirds (67 percent) of drug offenders were convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty, up slightly from the previous year (66 percent).
Lastly, beyond looking at the demographics of the individuals sentenced, the Sentencing Commission looked at data regarding their trials, and the actual sentencing.
Of the cases analyzed, 97.8 percent of all defendants accepted a guilty plea, with 99.6 percent of immigration crime defendants accepting the plea. An individual charged and sentenced with kidnapping was the least likely to accept a guilty plea (69.7 percent).
The researchers concluded that 89.1 percent were sentenced to prison only, while a small percentage of the individuals federally sentenced were steered towards prison alternatives such as probation or a fine, depending on the crime.
In concluding their latest report, the Sentencing Commission said its website traffic increased by more than 20 percent for the second year in a row, “demonstrating that interest in the Commission’s work by sentencing courts, Congress, the Executive Branch, and the general public continues to increase.”
The increased interest prompted the USSC to launch an “Interactive Data Analyzer” last June—a tool for Congress, judges, litigants, the press, and the general public to easily and independently analyze sentencing data by state, district or circuit, and refine their inquiry by a specific crime type or time period.
The USSC claims the new tool will create transparency and shine a light on crime and sentencing trends that will help inform future legislation.
The United States Sentencing Commission is a bipartisan, independent agency located in the judicial branch of government which collects, analyzes and distributes a broad array of information on federal sentencing practices.
The full report can be accessed here.