Violent offenses are driving America's mass incarceration more than non-violent drug crime

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  • A Vox article[1] profiles a 2017 book by Fordham University criminal justice expert John Pfaff. The article says that "It’s not drug offenses that are driving mass incarceration, but violent ones."
    • According to Pfaff "only about 16 percent of state prisoners are serving time on drug charges" and "more than half of all people in state prisons have been convicted of a violent crime.”
    • 2015 data from US Bureau of Justice Statistics[2] "shows that in state prisons, where about 87 percent of US inmates are held, nearly 53 percent are in for violent offenses (such as murder, manslaughter, robbery, assault, and rape), while only about 16 percent, as Pfaff said, are in for drug offenses."
  • According to another article by Vox[3], a report by the Urban Institute[4] is part of a "growing body of evidence that mass incarceration has been caused far more by rising punishments for violent offenses than drug offenses."

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