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Changes in types of felonies leading to jail time

Posted on August 19, 2015

Most people serving time for felonies will do so in a federal prison, though those with short sentences — one year or less — may end up in jail, serving their time beside those who have been convicted of misdemeanors. It’s interesting to look back over the decades to see how the types of felonies that lead to this incarceration have changed.

In 1974, a full 52.5 percent of those in prison were there because of violent crimes. Though this is always the largest category, it fell to 47.7 percent by 2012. It’s worth noting, though, that it jumped up to 64.2 percent in 1986.

Drug charges, on the other hand, have been trending in entirely the opposite direction. In 1974, drug charges made up just 10.4 percent of the population, and that actually dropped to 8.8 percent in 1986. In the following years, though, it jumped significantly, reaching 26.9 percent in 1997 and still sitting at 20.5 percent in 2012.

Property crimes have seen an interesting drop, sort of like violent crimes. In 1974, they made up 33.3 percent of all of the crimes. By 1986, they had fallen to just 22.9 percent, and 2012 actually saw them hit only 17.1 percent. They have never – at least not since 1974 – been higher than 33.3 percent.

Typically, “other” crimes make up between one and four percent, and they seem to change very little from year to year, often moving randomly. In 2012, these only made up 0.7 percent of the total.

No matter what types of charges you’re facing, you have to know what legal steps to take when you are going to court or setting up your defense in Summit County, Colorado.

Source: Pro Con, “Incarcerated Felon Population by Type of Crime Committed, 1974-2012,” accessed Aug. 19, 2015

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