|(08 Jun 2009)
In cases where the DEA is the lead investigative agency, there are significant geographic variations in the rates at which individuals convicted of criminal offenses get sent to prison.
According to Justice Department data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse and just published on TRAC's DEA website, in the Northern District of West Virgina (Wheeling) 65.6% of convictions in such cases resulted in prison terms in 2008. In New York West (Buffalo) the rate was 71.1%.
On the other hand, in nine districts fully 100% of all convictions in such cases resulted in prison terms. These were: Alabama Middle (Montgomery), Illinois South (East St. Louis), Illinois Central (Springfield), Michigan West (Grand Rapids), Nebraska (Omaha), North Dakota (Fargo), Oklahoma East (Muskogee), Rhode Island (Providence) and Wisconsin West (Madison). Nationally, the rate was 94.6%.
Note that in determining whether prison sentences are imposed in such cases, key factors include the kinds of matters the DEA investigators recommended for prosecution and the resulting agreements reached by the defendants and the assistant U.S attorneys about the charges that ultimately are brought against them. In other words, the discretionary powers of the district judges may be much less important than is generally understood.
For district-by-district DEA enforcement information go to:
and click on "District Enforcement." There you'll find data on DEA referrals, charges, convictions, prison sentences and much more, for specific districts and the U.S. as a whole.
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