January 13, 1997 in Nation/World

Drug Crimes Make Up Third Of ‘94 Felonies Less Than 1 In 5 State Convictions For Violent Crimes, Bureau Says

Associated Press

Drug offenders accounted for nearly a third of the 872,200 felony convictions in state courts in 1994, the Justice Department reported Sunday. Property crimes made up nearly another third.

Violent crimes were responsible for less than one in five state felony convictions that year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported.

The median age of convicted felons rose from 27 years in 1988 to 29 years in 1994, reflecting the rise in the average age of the population as the large baby boom generation grows older.

But teenage murderers were an exception to that trend. Teenagers accounted for 10 percent of murderers in 1988 but 18 percent in 1994, as they were recruited into violent crack cocaine trafficking.

Fifty-one percent of the convicted felons were white; 48 percent, black, and 1 percent, other races.

Felons sentenced to state prison during 1994 had an average sentence of six years, but were likely to serve about 38 percent of that term - or more than two years.

The violent crimes of murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping accounted for 18.9 percent of 1994 state felony convictions. Property crimes of burglary, larceny, fraud and forgery accounted for 31.6 percent.

Drug possession or trafficking accounted for 31.4 percent.

Forty-eight percent of drug traffickers were sent to prison, slightly above the 45 percent for all felons; another 23 percent were sent to a jail, where sentenced usually were less than one year, and 29 percent were given probation.

xxxx Roaring 20s People in their 20s remained more crime-prone than older people: They comprised about 20 percent of the 1994 adult population but 43 percent of the convicted state felons.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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