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Are jail sentences increasing in the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The news consistently discusses criminal justice reform efforts, and the public may assume that jail sentences are now less harsh. Statistics reveal that might not be the case at all. Someone sent to jail in Florida may spend more time incarcerated than expected as jail sentences continue to become longer.

A sharp increase in jail sentences durations

The length of time inmates remained in jail increased substantially between 2014 and 2019. The average increase was as high as 20%, although the stats only examine figures from three U.S. counties. Even so, the possibility exists that inmates experience longer stays in many other counties throughout the nation.

Multiple factors contribute to extended jail sentences. High bail amounts, for example, make it difficult for some defendants to secure their release.

An examination of jail sentencing figures also reveals racial disparities among inmates. Furthermore, younger persons find themselves spending far longer times incarcerated than in previous years.

A release from jail

Persons unable to post a high bail amount might focus on negotiating a reduced bail. A criminal defense strategy could compel the court to realize an excessive bail figure might be unfair and unjust. The court may see things the defendant’s way.

Challenging the evidence against the defendant may result in charges being dropped. Insufficient or illegally obtained evidence could undermine a prosecutor’s case and lead to the defendant leaving jail.

Plea bargaining for reduced or fewer charges might also help the cause. Sometimes, a defendant has little choice but to explore a deal. Doing so might lead to a fairer sentence and less time behind bars.