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Impact of the New Drug Trafficking Law on the Delaware Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1991
This report provides information on the effects of the Delaware drug trafficking law of July 1989 (SB142) which lowered the mandatory sentencing threshold for drug trafficking from 15 grams to 5 grams of an illicit drug.

The new drug trafficking laws almost doubled the increase in drug trafficking cases, but did not divert drug trafficking cases to weights just below 5 grams. It may have contributed to the reduction of drug trafficking in Delaware with the lowered mandatory sentencing threshold. However, the SB152 resulted in the need for extra Department of Corrections' (DOC) detention and prison beds to house the increase in mandatory sentences. Summaries of distribution of drugs by weights in grams on an 11-step scale are provided for heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, PCP, marijuana, and all other drugs. The drug weight distributions used in this report take into account the old and the revised weight threshold in the Delaware drug laws. Also included are weight categories directly below the old and the SB142 thresholds for mandatory drug sentences which help to determine the extent of the displacement effect to new lower minimum thresholds. 14 tables

Date Published: March 1, 1991