US Bureau of Justice Statistics
Added August, 2003
Criminal Sentencing Statistics
In 2000, State
and Federal courts convicted a combined total of nearly 984,000 adults
of felonies -- State courts convicted an estimated 924,700 adults and
Federal courts convicted 59,123 adults (accounting for 6% of the national
In 2000, 68% of
all felons convicted in State courts were sentenced to a period of confinement
- 40% to State prisons and 28% to local jails. Jail sentences are for
short-term confinement (usually for a year or less) in a county or city
facility, while prison sentences are for long-term confinement (usually
for over a year) in a State facility.
State courts sentenced
32% of convicted felons to straight probation with no jail or prison time
to a State prison in 2000 had an average sentence of 4 1/2 years but
were likely to serve 55% of that sentence - or just 2 1/2 years - before
release, assuming that 2000 release policies continue in effect.
The average sentence
to local jail was just over 6 months. The average probation sentence
was about 3 years.
sentenced to incarceration or probation, 39% or more of convicted felons
also were ordered to pay a fine, pay victim restitution, receive treatment,
perform community service, or comply with some other additional penalty.
A fine was imposed on at least 25% of convicted felons.
Lengths of felony sentences imposed
by State courts, 2000
Average maximum sentence length
(in months) for felons sentenced to:
Note: Means exclude sentences to death or to life in prison. Sentence length data were available for 852,616 incarceration and probation sentences.
This document is not necessarily endorsed by the Almanac of
Policy Issues. It is being preserved in the Policy Archive for historic