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Drivers of Growth in the Federal Prison Population

Accession Number: 029777
Media Type: 
Document

"The federal prison population has grown by 750 percent since 1980, resulting in rapidly increasing expenditures for incarceration and dangerous overcrowding. In response, Congress created the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections to examine trends in correctional growth and develop practical, data-driven policy responses" (p. 1). The biggest driver of this growth is the population of drug offenders doubling in the last 20 years. This increase is compounded by the length of their sentences. While the number of imprisoned drug offenders has been fairly constant, the population has increased due to these offenders serving longer statutory mandatory minimum penalties.

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