Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US

Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US

The United States has only 5 % of the world’s population, but 25 % of its prisoners. The biggest contributing factor to our booming prison population? Drugs, drugs, and more drugs.

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The Coalition Against Drug Abuse has just released a report investigating how federal drug sentencing varies across the country, pulling statistics from a 2013 report by the United States Sentencing Commission. They’ve packaged their findings into a series of simple maps and infographics, which give us a detailed picture of just how much the response to drug related offenses varies from state to state. Still, the bottom line is clear: If you’re convicted of a trafficking offense in a US federal court, there’s a good chance you’re going to serve years.

Looking at the top map, we can see that drug sentencings vary starkly across the country, with Western states locking more people away for meth, states along the Mexican border coming down hard on marijuana, and Eastern seaboard states tending to incarcerate for crack, cocaine and heroine. The infographics below break things down further, revealing which states are more or less likely to incarcerate a person for a drug offense, and how sentence durations vary.

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A few interesting observations:

  • Crack and cocaine (combined) are the drugs that most frequently send people to prison in the US, while pot comes in a close second.
  • You really don’t want to be caught trafficking drugs in South Carolina, or Wyoming.
  • The proportion of drug-related sentences in West Virginia is nearly double the national average, reflecting the state’s aggressive response to its high drug overdose death rate. (Don’t do drugs in West Virginia.)
  • New Mexico has the highest number of trafficking sentences (21.8 per 100,000 residents) but the lowest average time incarcerated (34 months). It’s apparently a revolving door in New Mexican prisons.

Have a look at the numbers yourself:

Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US
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Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US
Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US
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Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US
Illustration for article titled Everything You Need to Know About Drug Incarceration Rates Across the US
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You can check out the Coalition Against Drug Abuse’s website for a detailed description of their methodology and more information.


Follow Maddie on Twitter or contact her at maddie.stone@gizmodo.com

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DISCUSSION

tHESE ARE STRANGE CHARTS..mostly I see is Drug trafficking.. not drug use, not Stopping cars and finding drugs... I wonder if this is just a Mix of numbers combined.

What I would ask and say..Think of the amounts of money SPENT on drugs...The amounts Spent on Catching those with drugs.. Making things illegal only makes an environment to make MONEY from those goods. Ask the states that Legalized MJ...the profit margins went into the dirt. The only ones making money, sell at about the same price(cut in profits) but dont pay the TAXES and Farm(regulations to run a farm) costs..

Is there REALLY a reason to place people in JAIL for some of these problems? wouldnt it be easier to find out WHY they take the drugs and try to solve it? Yes, drugs can be addictive, but change the environment of where they get them, and you can BREAK up the addictive drugs from the Non-addictive.

Another alternative is to FIND what people want, and try to give them something as a replacement.. DO you really like drinking BEER? when you could smoke a joint and get the relaxation, and NOT the hang over.. Alcohol is addictive, and your body will tell you so..

IF this is just cause people are SELLING(trafficking), then THAT is allot of people..arrested for selling drugs. Last I heard(40% were in jails for Drug charges). 5 Sellers could probably be dealing to 100+ people. With Millions in jail for selling drugs, the Users must be in the 100,000,000’s... 1/3 of this nation must be using drugs..Thats equal to all the people in the REGISTERED repub/democrat parties..they could out vote both parties..Nation wide.

We could get wierd here and point out some reasoning to be illegal, and underground profits going to the CIA, Mega rich people, and so forth... We could talk about DOW chemical wanting a clear market for Nylon and synthetics for making clothing and ropes.. But let me ask, how many animals we would need to Clothe everyone in Wool or cotton...and those allergic to those, would love hemp clothing.. building materials from Hemp waste for walls and lumber..Even using bamboo for products would save tons of Forrest.

restricting markets, and available products, for Price control is an old trick. try SUGAR...