Pew Research: The Tide In Federal Prosecutions About To Change

Every so often, media outlets in Wisconsin and throughout the country produce reports covering the incarceration rate in the United States. Most stories agree that no other country jails as many people per capita then here at home. Data released late last year from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates a trend developed had in recent years toward a reduced prison population. At the end of 2015, roughly 2.7 percent of the adult population was under some form of correctional supervision, the lowest rate recorded since 1994. But the raw numbers remain staggering -- 6,741,400 individuals were either being held in jail, in prison or on some form of probationary supervision.

Overall, the stats cover everything from local jails throughout the nation to federal prisons. A recent news report has taken a new angle to suggest that federal prosecutors have been filing fewer charges in recent years. While those held in federal prison are only a percentage of the overall stats, federal sentencing guidelines are tremendously daunting, if a conviction is entered. Between 2011 and 2016, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts says that the number of individuals charged with a federal crime dropped by 25 percent. That trend may have come to an end, according to Pew Research.

The Department Of Justice Plans To Increase Its Focus On Drug And Gun Crimes

New Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated that the Department of Justice will ramp up efforts to prosecute federal crimes in the next few years. Historically, the most common prosecutions in federal courts have focused on drug crimes, immigration offenses and property crimes. The new focus at the federal level, however, seems to be aimed more at violent offenses. Currently, only 7 percent of federal inmates are sentenced for a violent crime -- compared to 53 percent of inmates held in state prisons across the country.

Drug offenses and gun-related crimes are expected to be on the minds of federal prosecutors more than in the past, according to Pew Research. Of all of the potential federal crimes, these areas involve highly draconian provisions under the federal sentencing guidelines for a conviction than most other federal offenses.

Now more than ever, it is critical for anyone who believes they are under investigation for a felony offense, or formally charged with a crime, to consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience in both state and federal courts. Do not speak to law enforcement before consulting with a criminal defense attorney.

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