The Changing Federal Drug Offender

Kevin R. Blackwell, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Federal offenders, as a group, have evolved over time, due to changing priorities of law enforcement. Nowhere is this ore apparent than the sentencing of drug offenders. Drug offenders comprise over 40 percent of the offenders sentenced in the federal system since the advent of federal sentencing guidelines in 1987. This paper will examine the changes in the type of drug offenders sentenced in federal court between the years 1995 and 2000. Factors such as the function of the drug offender, weapon use, sophisticated means used in concealing the activity and personal characteristics of the offenders will be explored.

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Updated 05/20/2006