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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

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Section I: Crime & Punishment in the U.S.

Drugs

  • Pounds of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and hashish (combined) seized by the federal government, 1989118: 1,343,702
  • Pounds of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and hashish (combined) seized by the federal government, 2000119: 2,856,462
  • Value, in dollars, of all assets seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration from 1992 to 2000120: $5.5 billion
  • Percent of population stating that arresting drug users would be very effective at controlling drugs121: 30%
  • Percent stating that drug use should be treated more like a disease than a crime122: 52%
  • Percent of public believing that a small amount of marijuana should not be treated as a criminal offense123: 46%
  • Number of antitrust cases filed in U.S. District Courts, 1975124: 1,467
  • Number of antitrust cases filed in U.S. District Courts, 2000125: 901
  • Number of sentences given for drug law violations in federal court in 1975126: 4,887
  • Number of sentences given for drug law violations in federal court in 2000127: 23,120
  • Number of years of imprisonment given to federal drug offenders convicted in 1999128: 152,528
  • Minimum number of states that conduct random drug tests on prisoners129: 43
  • Number of prisoner samples tested for drugs in 2000130: 2,027,386
  • Number of prisoner samples testing positive for drug use in the facility, 2000131: 61,044
  • Of the 50 states, D.C. and the federal Bureau of Prisons, number of prison systems that drug test all employee applicants132: 12
  • Of the 50 states, D.C. and the federal Bureau of Prisons, number of prison systems that drug test all correctional officer applicants133: 33
  • Of the 50 states, D.C. and the federal Bureau of Prisons, number of prison systems that perform random drug testing on all employees of the institution134: 8

This page is an excerpt from The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry (April 2003) by Peter Wagner, published by the Western Prison Project and the Prison Policy Initiative.

Footnotes

118 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 4.37.

119 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 4.37.

120 Calculation based on Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 4.43.

121 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.48.

122 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.50.

123 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.84.

124 The U.S. government was a plaintiff or defendant in only 92 of these cases, the remainder were private actions. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.37

125 The U.S. government was a plaintiff or defendant in only 90 of these cases, the remainder were private actions. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.37

126 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.34.

127 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.34.

128 Calculation, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book. Table 323

129 Kentucky apparently does some testing, but doesn’t provide a precise breakdown by type, so I assume for purposes of this calculation that they do not do random testing, Corrections Yearbook 2001, p. 122.

130 Corrections Yearbook 2001, p. 122.

131 Corrections Yearbook 2001, p. 122.

132 Corrections Yearbook 2001, p. 174.

133 Corrections Yearbook 2001, p. 174.

134 Corrections Yearbook 2001, p. 174.

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Events

  • November 29, 2017:
    Legal Director Aleks Kajstura will be in DC speaking at the congressional Democratic Women’s Working Group dinner about women’s mass incarceration.

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