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Federal inmates spending longer periods in prison

It is certainly no understatement to say that being charged with a federal offense is a serious matter. Federal prosecutors will typically only attempt to bring suspects to trial if they believe they have strong enough evidence to win the case. What's more, when the federal government sets its sights on a suspect, it has virtually limitless resources from which it can draw in pursuit of a conviction.

Making things all the more damning for those convicted of a federal crime is the fact that there has been a marked increase in the length of time the average inmate must spend behind bars. A recent report published on the Pew Charitable Trusts website presents statistics showing that from 1998 to 2012, the average number of months served by federal inmates jumped from 17.9 months up to 37.5 months.

This rise is across the board for all kinds of federal offenses. But of particular note, the amount of time served for drug crimes leaped 153 percent, from an average sentence of 23.2 months in 1998 to 58.6 months in 2012. Also making a precipitous rise were sentences for weapon-related offenses, which were at 19.5 months in 1998 and went up to 56.9 months in 2012.

Another striking point made in the Pew report is that there has also been an increase in the number of people committed to federal prisons following criminal convictions. These startling statistics tell us that not only is the federal government convicting more people, but those convicted are spending more time behind bars.

If you are facing federal charges, it could be of great benefit to have an attorney on your side that understands the workings of the Federal justice system. The government has clearly raised the stakes and is actively seeking more convictions and longer sentences. As such, having savvy legal representation has become that much more important.

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