Sentences and Fines for Organized Crime Figures and Major Drug Traffickers

GGD-85-19: Published: Apr 4, 1985. Publicly Released: May 3, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the sentencing and parole of those convicted of drug trafficking or involvement in organized crime, focusing on: (1) a comparison of sentences imposed with statutory maximum sentences; and (2) the impact of parole and time off for good behavior on sentences actually served.

GAO found that: (1) 3 percent of those whose cases were studied were placed on probation or received suspended sentences; (2) 58 percent received prison terms of 10 years or less; (3) 38 percent received prison terms of between 10 years and life; (4) 1 percent received life sentences; (5) 74 percent received less than the statutory maximum concurrent prison term; (6) the median statutory maximum concurrent sentence that could have been imposed was 15 years; and (7) the median concurrent sentence imposed was 10 years. GAO also found that, of those who were assessed fines; (1) 68 percent were assessed fines less than the statutory maximum; (2) 32 percent were assessed the statutory maximum fine; and (3) the median fine imposed was $15,000. In addition, GAO found that, overall, considering time off for good behavior: (1) those offenders who were not paroled served or will serve a median of 44 months, compared with a median sentence of 60 months; and (2) those offenders who were paroled served or will serve a median of 50 months, compared with a median sentence of 120 months.

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