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Admissions To State Prison
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Offenders sentenced to a maximum sentence of less than two years confinement serve their time in county jails while those with five years or more are sentenced to state prison. Judges have discretion as to where to sentence offenders with a maximum confinement sentence of between two and five years.
Pennsylvania had a total of 17,875 admissions to state prisons during 2011, an increase of 8.7 percent from 2010. There was a 41.9 percent increase over the ten-year period from 2001 to 2011. Admissions to state prisons were due primarily to court commitments (61.4 percent).
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For every 100,000 Pennsylvanians, 140.3 persons were admitted to a state prison. More specifically, 86.1 offenders per 100,000 population were admitted as court commitments, 54.1 offenders per 100,000 population were admitted as parole violators, and less than one offender per 100,000 was admitted as county transfers.
Generally, more serious offenses result in longer maximum sentences served in state prisons. Part II offenses have a large impact on court commitment admissions to state prison, with the most significant impact coming from narcotic drug law violations. In 2011, drug law violations accounted for 28.8 percent of all state prison court commitments
During 2011, 62.5 percent of state prison court commitments were attributed to Part II offenses. Since 2000, the percent of Part II offenses has increased slightly, while the percent of Part I violent offenses has decreased slightly. The proportion of Part I property offenses has remained relatively stable.
The percentage of court committed offenders admitted to state prison with shorter minimum sentences has increased since 2000. During 2011, 23.9 percent of those admitted had minimum sentences of 1 year or less, and 32.8 percent were sentenced to between 1 to 2 years. Additionally, 11.7 percent of offenders had maximum sentences of 2 years and 44.6 percent were sentenced to 2 to 5 years.
Overall, 91.2 percent of court committed offenders were male in 2011.Male offenders tended to be younger than female offenders. Males age younger than 18 to 29 made up 46.4 percent of total male offenders while the same age range for females was 37.7 percent.
Offenders ages 25-29 had the highest rate of court commitments per 100,000 population in 2011. There were 279.6 persons committed to state prison for every 100,000 Pennsylvanians age 25 to 29. The second highest rate was 217.2 for persons ages 18 to 24.
More than half (54.7%) of all offenders that were committed by the court to state prison during 2011 were minorities. Specifically, 43.0 percent of the offenders were black, 11.1 percent were Hispanic, and 0.6 percent were other minorities.
When comparing the ages of minority offenders and white offenders, minority offenders tended to be younger. During 2011, 9.1 percent of court-committed minority offenders admitted to state prison were 20 years of age and younger, and another 40.4 percent were age 21 to 29. In comparison, 3.7 percent of white offenders were age 20 and younger and 37.2 percent were age 21 through 29.
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