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Federal Criminal Cases, 1980-87

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1989
Publication Series
Data from a database maintained for the Bureau of Justice Statistics form the basis of this analysis of trends in Federal criminal cases and their dispositions from 1980 through 1987.

The analysis focuses on individuals rather than cases and examines each stage in the criminal justice process. The data show a substantial increase in Federal criminal prosecutions and convictions. In particular, they reflect the impact of drug cases on the Federal justice system. The number of persons prosecuted in United States district courts by U.S. attorneys increased 74 percent between 1980 and 1987. During the same period the number of persons convicted increased by 49 percent and the number sentenced to prison grew by 71 percent. Persons charged with drug offenses accounted for much of this increase. Thus, prosecutions for drug offenses rose by 153 percent; convictions, by 161 percent; and prison sentences, by 177 percent. By 1987 drug offenses accounted for 33 percent of all prosecutions by U.S. attorneys, 30 percent of all persons convicted, and 43 percent of those sentenced to prison by Federal judges. The number of persons prosecuted for fraud offenses rose 115 percent over the 7 years. Data tables showing criminal justice processing by offense categories.

Date Published: July 1, 1989