>Users:   login   |  register       > email     > people    

Most Violent Prisoners Serve Less Than Three Years in Prison
By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Published: 12/10/2018

Mug shot


Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has been the standard-bearer for the opposition to the pending federal sentencing reform bill, which would slash sentences for thousands of prisoners, many of them heroin and fentanyl traffickers or sex offenders, Washington Post.

But at the state level, however, most prisoners serve half or less of their sentences.

How tough is the American justice system?

Advocates blast a correctional system that holds too many prisoners for too long. We are told that America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

Complaints come from both conservatives and liberals. There is a multitude of national advocacy organizations who want less incarceration, including many (most?) governors offices who want to limit the fiscal impact of incarceration. I can’t think of any organization that promotes more incarceration.

The justice system is portrayed as a monolithic machine carelessly processing 1.5 million human beings in a correctional system that simply does not care about those incarcerated. Critics are inevitably correct to some degree; bureaucracies at that scale struggle to provide constitutional institutions that provide services meeting individual needs.

Most of that struggle has to do with inadequate funding and staffing. Most correctional administrators would fully fund every conceivable program because they tend to provide safer and saner prisons.

But Is The Tough Narrative Accurate?

But when I was Director of Public Information for the Maryland Department of Public Safety, I found that the majority of inmates served short sentences, somewhere between one and three years. The great majority of these inmates had a long history of arrests and convictions and previous sentences to probation, Crime in America.

Most crimes are not reported and less than two in five reported crimes end in arrest. Many arrests are not prosecuted and the overwhelming majority involve plea bargains where crimes are vastly downgraded to obtain guilty pleas resulting in shorter sentences, Crime in America.

Sixteen to fifty percent of federal crimes are declined from prosecution. Thirty-four percent of state felony cases are not convicted, Crime in America.

Forty-two percent of felony convictions end up in prison, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

5.7 million are wanted on warrants that are not served, and may never be served, Gatehouse News


To many of us with decades of experience in the justice system, there are endless escape hatches that make “do the crime-do the time” a bit of a misnomer.

Explaining the system to crime victims and their families is incredibly hard. Most do not see justice regarding the penalties applied, especially when they or loved ones suffer through the life-changing trauma of victimization.

Advocates are incessantly asking for a second chance for inmates when in reality, we are talking about offenders with multiple arrests and convictions.

The recidivism rate of releases inmates is massive, Crime in America. Is it because offenders simply do not see consequences for their actions?

No one is advocating for fewer programs, few want harsher sentences based on the cost to states. What many want, however, is a conversation that is honest, not based on advocacy. We owe victims of crime and all Americans an accurate view of the justice system.

The Reality-New Department of Justice Report

More than half (57 percent) of violent offenders who were released from state prison in 2016 served less than three years before their release, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 1 in 25 violent offenders served 20 years or more before their release.

These findings are based on prisoner records from BJS’s National Corrections Reporting Program and reflect 2016 releases. They are based on state prisoners’ initial release after serving time for a given offense and exclude persons who had been released after serving time for an offense, returned to prison for violating community supervision and were released again.

The average time an offender served in state prison in 2016, from the date of first admission to initial release, was 2.6 years.

The median amount of time served (the middle value in the range of time served, with 50 percent of offenders serving more and 50 percent serving less) was 1.3 years.

Persons serving less than one year in state prison made up 40 percent of first releases in 2016.

Based on 2016 release data, the average time served before initial release by state prisoners who were sentenced for a violent offense was 4.7 years and the median time was 2.4 years.

Offenders sentenced for murder or non-negligent manslaughter served an average of 15 years and a median time of 13 years in state prison before initial release.

State prisoners sentenced for rape or sexual assault served an average of 6.2 years and a median time of 4.2 years before initial release.

An estimated 96 percent of violent offenders released in 2016, including 70 percent of those sentenced for murder or non-negligent manslaughter, served less than 20 years before initial release.

Roughly 1 in 5 persons released in 2016 after being sentenced for rape or sexual assault served 10 or more years before initial release.

State prisoners serving time for drug offenses, including trafficking and possession, served an average of 22 months and a median time of 14 months before their initial release.

About 3 in 5 offenders released after serving time for drug possession served less than one year before their initial release.

In general, state prisoners served an average of 46 percent of their maximum sentence before their first release.

Violent offenders served 54 percent of their maximum sentence, property offenders served 42 percent, drug offenders served 41 percent and public order offenders served 45 percent.

Persons in state prison for rape or sexual assault served an average of 62 percent of their maximum sentence before initial release. Those in prison for drug possession served an average of 38 percent of their maximum sentence length.

The report, Time Served in State Prison, 2016, can be found on the BJS website at https://www.bjs.gov.

Reprinted with permission from http://www.crimeinamerica.net.

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com or for media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.

Leonard A. Sipes, Jr has thirty-five years of experience supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. He is the Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse and the Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. He has a Post Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the book "Success With the Media". He can be reached via email at leonardsipes@gmail.com.


  1. hamiltonlindley on 03/18/2020:

    Hamilton loves his family of five and badminton. His favorite sports ball team is the McGregor Dodgeballers. He has worked as a foreman on a chain gang, and later in life he was an architect of skyscrapers and tunnels. He was forced to give up his career because he was terrible at math. Hamilton has a keen attention to detail. He enjoyed watching bowling on TV and spent most every weekend on the couch falling asleep. He was a demon at croquet. He also enjoyed war movies and baking shows. Hamilton Lindley is constantly helping others less fortunate and lending a helping hand for relatives and friends in need of encouraging words. He coaches different sports and provided guidance for people who needed it, and a few who didn’t want it.

  2. kanni on 02/07/2019:

    Blackmart Apk Download for free latest version

  3. lifetime on 01/23/2019:

    With so many books and articles coming up to give gateway to make-money-online field and confusing reader even more on the actual way of earning money, https://yogaadvisor.weebly.com/ashtanga-yoga.html

  4. lifetime on 01/09/2019:

    You completed a number of nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found nearly all people will have the same opinion with your blog. Femto Sceintific New Jersey

  5. lifetime on 12/25/2018:

    The writer is enthusiastic about purchasing wooden furniture on the web and his exploration about best wooden furniture has brought about the arrangement of this article. Oregon Church On the Hill Best Church

  6. lifetime on 12/24/2018:

    Thumbs up guys your doing a really good job. the epoxy resin store

  7. siko11 on 12/21/2018:

    http://999.sh/22421 http://awalsh.com/16926 http://freest.at/90538 https://e13.co/39043 https://lil.ink/28084 http://www.vkvi.net/63169 http://jnl.io/56347 http://perkele.ovh/68323 https://tinyurl.com/ybafmsrg http://freest.at/83150 https://lil.ink/52359 https://tinyurl.com/yd22csau http://valeriemace.co.uk/56979 http://jnl.io/98210 https://atho.me/3SQB http://tropaadet.dk/92726 https://tinyurl.com/yb2joeah https://aaa.moda/61964 https://arill.us/79357 http://c.or.at/19037 http://www.vkvi.net/47920 http://www.vkvi.net/91773 http://valeriemace.co.uk/65904 http://ralive.de/53352 http://www.short4free.us/91931 http://freest.at/93079 https://aaa.moda/23664 http://go.fireontherim.com/28695 http://go.fireontherim.com/46182 http://rih.co/40492 http://www.abcagency.se/10369 http://www.short4free.us/99562 http://tans.me/87723 http://yourls.site/34931 http://ralive.de/18532 http://rih.co/37067 http://jnl.io/37261 http://rih.co/66000 http://ralive.de/48928 http://goto.iamaws.com/46252 http://ralive.de/43075 http://freest.at/39198 http://go.fireontherim.com/38691 http://valeriemace.co.uk/75820 http://tropaadet.dk/75091 https://arill.us/56154 https://tinyurl.com/yctxk65p http://c.or.at/15131 http://c.or.at/40249 http://www.short4free.us/58165 https://aaa.moda/62622 https://arill.us/92412 https://tinyurl.com/y7jykodd http://www.xn--277c.com/65227 https://atho.me/3TcQ http://999.sh/76068 http://yourls.site/69868 http://valeriemace.co.uk/35754 http://valeriemace.co.uk/95310 http://c.or.at/93226 http://www.abcagency.se/57762 http://go.fireontherim.com/60736 http://www.vkvi.net/46644 https://e13.co/79763 http://ralive.de/37268 http://freest.at/76285 http://jnl.io/17449 http://goto.iamaws.com/90465 http://www.vkvi.net/77670 http://webhop.se/56657 https://e13.co/57189 http://perkele.ovh/21229 http://www.xn--277c.com/21030 http://www.short4free.us/13008 https://e13.co/80541 https://aaa.moda/68861 https://atho.me/3Tgx http://www.xn--277c.com/81593 http://www.short4free.us/38646 https://atho.me/3TgN http://corta.co/51417 http://www.short4free.us/43636 http://wntdco.mx/30200 http://freest.at/49444 https://arill.us/23289 http://awalsh.com/41707 http://webhop.se/37672 http://yourls.site/53164 http://freest.at/71259 http://goto.iamaws.com/36083 http://www.short4free.us/80215 https://tinyurl.com/ya3qjnc4 http://ralive.de/11990 https://aaa.moda/15181 http://www.xn--277c.com/69818 http://www.lookweb.it/90619 http://valeriemace.co.uk/86809 https://atho.me/3TeD https://atho.me/3SNS http://c.or.at/16912

  8. EricRosenthal on 12/19/2018:

    Thanks for sharing this post. I am very interested in this topic. I would like to share my opinion on this topic. Like Whatsapp, GroupMe can also be easy to make use of, which is likely one of the main causes for its reputation. It may be used on a wide range of cell platforms in addition to on desktop. https://phreesite.com/sites-like-kissanime/

  9. Ronald Jacobs on 12/15/2018:

    Thanksfor sharing this post . I am very interested in this topic . I would like to sharew my opinion on this Know All The ATV Trailers are available in an array of designs and sorts. With so many decisions obtainable available in the market it may be little complicated to choose the suitable one. Making a choice on which one to purchase generally is a harsh selection. You need to know all of the particulars in order that you find yourself shopping for the right one. There are numerous sorts of trailers obtainable available in the market.

  10. enable on 12/13/2018:

    Easily this website could very well irrefutably secure a well known being among the most in advertisment users, because of diligent articles or even fundamental ratings. Offer Financing to Customers

  11. andyclue on 12/10/2018:

    Download Latest Apps from here Spotify Premium Apk Lucky Patcher Tutuapp Blackmart Apk from Androclue

  12. andyclue on 12/10/2018:

    Download Latest Apps from here Spotify Premium Apk Lucky Patcher Tutuapp Blackmart Apk from Androclue

  13. andyclue on 12/10/2018:

    Well, in simple words, GB WhatsApp APK is the modded version of WhatsApp. The only difference that GBWhatsApp and Official version of WhatsApp has is the features. Like GBWhatsapp comes with a lot of useful features which the official version of WhatsApp lacks. Like using the GBWhatsApp you will be able to hide your last seen, blue tick, your online status and so on. Download [url=https://androclue.com/gbwhatsapp-apk]GbWhatsapp[/url], [url=https://androclue.com/blackmart-alpha-apk]Blackmart Alpha[/url], [url=https://androclue.com/spotify-premium-apk]Spotify Premium Apk[/url] from our official site.

Login to let us know what you think

User Name:   


Forgot password?

correctsource logo

Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of The Corrections Connection User Agreement
The Corrections Connection ©. Copyright 1996 - 2021 © . All Rights Reserved | 15 Mill Wharf Plaza Scituate Mass. 02066 (617) 471 4445 Fax: (617) 608 9015