Statistics on Sentences and Parole for Federal Offenders Who Commit Crimes Involving Firearms

GGD-85-58: Published: Jul 19, 1985. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the sentencing and parole decisions for federal offenders who committed federal crimes involving firearms to determine: (1) the number of offenders who committed crimes and were charged with or convicted of firearms violations; (2) the sentences imposed; and (3) the impact that parole had on reducing the period of imprisonment.

GAO found that 29 percent of the sentenced and confined offenders committed crimes which violated firearms statutes. Of these, 81 percent were charged with firearms violations, and about 76 percent of those charged were convicted. The median sentence imposed for all offenders was 72 months. When a firearm was involved but the offenders were not charged with a firearm violation, the offenders received a median sentence of 120 months, and those charged and convicted of a firearm violation received a median sentence of 180 months. Approximately two-thirds of the offenders convicted of firearms violations had received parole decisions. GAO found that the median time served or to be served for offenders given a parole release date was 72 months, while the median sentence imposed by the courts was 180 months. Therefore, the offenders serve a median of 36 percent of their imposed sentences. GAO also found that the median time served or to be served by offenders who were denied parole but granted good time was 44 months while the median sentence imposed by the courts was 60 months. Overall, the offenders denied parole serve a median of 74 percent of their imposed sentences.

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