Thousands of juveniles are detained and incarcerated with adults each year. In many states, juveniles are housed with the general adult population. On an annual one-day count in 2009, 7220 juveniles were confined in adult jails, most either awaiting disposition in criminal court or serving sentences of less than one year. In 2009, 2778 juveniles were incarcerated in adult prisons on the annual one-day count of prison populations. Given high turnover rates, the total number of juveniles confined in jails and prisons over the course of one year may be ten to twenty times higher than the numbers gathered in the one-day count.
The Oklahoma legislature is considering a number of recommendations. As the News-Star noted, "Last week, the Sentencing Commission handed down a list of proposed sentencing reforms, including elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses and allowing more offenders to receive suspended sentences and participate in community sentencing programs. The commission said the number of felony offenders projected for state prisons in the next few years will outstrip the number of prison beds the Department of Corrections can afford. 'The idea is to expand the base of convicts who are sentenced to community sentencing to alternatives to incarceration,' Drummond said. Recommendations include making possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a misdemeanor subject to a citation not unlike a traffic ticket. Offenders could still receive some jail time and be ordered to participate in mandatory treatment programs. Statistics compiled by the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center found that drug and alcohol offenses are the leading causes of prison sentences in the state, accounting for 44 percent of all receptions in 2001. The center found that marijuana possession accounted for 12 percent of all felony drug possessors convicted in 2001. Drummond said Oklahoma has more minor, nonviolent drug offenders in prison per capita than any state in the region."
2015 Chapter 3 | United States Sentencing Commission
The News reported that "'The reports that I'm seeing from staff people involved in these areas of substance abuse treatment and counseling commend you for what you're doing,' Reich told Alexander in court. Two years ago, as a senior at Lawrence County High School, Alexander sold small amounts of marijuana on several occasions to an undercover agent recruited by Principal Ricky Nichols. The transactions took place at school and at Alexander's trailer, where he lived with his family. Alexander pleaded guilty in January and received the 26-year sentence. It was his first arrest. State laws increase the penalties for selling drugs within three miles of a school."
Chapter 2953: APPEALS; OTHER POSTCONVICTION REMEDIES
The Supreme Court, in the wake of its ruling on the advisory-only role of federal sentencing guidelines, ordered the review of hundreds of sentences. The Associated Press reported on Jan. 24, 2005 () that "Justices instructed the lower courts to review more than 400 appeals from defendants sentenced for crimes ranging from drug possession to theft and securities fraud. They had argued that judges had improperly boosted their sentences based on factors that had not come before the jury during trial. The Supreme Court ruled Jan. 12 that the federal guidelines violated a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial because the 18-year-old guidelines required judges to make factual decisions that affect prison time, such as the amount of drugs involved in a crime or amount of money involved in fraud. Under the ruling, the guidelines are no longer mandatory but advisory; as a result, federal judges are free to sentence convicted criminals as they see fit, but they may be subject to reversal if appeals courts find them "unreasonable." In all, thousands of cases are expected to be reviewed by the lower courts to determine whether the defendants were harshly punished. That will hinge on what the appeals courts consider "reasonable" - for example, whether the new advisory guidelines set a reasonable range or judges should have wider leeway."
2953.01 Appeals and post-conviction remedies definitions
The Oregonian reported that "Democrats, who are in the minority in Congress, used the hearing to fire pointed questions about mandatory minimums at sponsors of the bill and an official from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Historically, there has been a racial component to discussions of sentences for drug crimes. African American lawmakers have long criticized the disparate impact on black communities created in the 1980s when Congress enacted longer sentences for small amounts of crack cocaine. Members of the crime panel on Tuesday said that longer prison terms were an equally ineffective way to deal with meth, whose users are overwhelmingly white. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the committee's top Democrat, said Congress has repeatedly tried the punitive approach with meth and other drugs -- and failed. 'Meanwhile, the epidemic has grown exponentially,' Scott said. Scott, an attorney, reserved his closest cross-examination for Joseph T. Rannazzisi, deputy chief of enforcement operations for the DEA. After a relentless series of questions, Scott concluded, 'You did not reduce the incidence of crack use by having a draconian five-year mandatory-minimum sentence, did you?' 'Putting it that way,' Rannazzisi said, 'I guess not.' Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., said punishment should be balanced by additional money to treat addictions. 'There's no reference in the legislation about treatment,' Delahunt said. 'You've got to attack this on the demand side.' Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., a sponsor of the bill, defended the tougher criminal penalties by saying Congress must send a 'send a strong signal' to drug traffickers. 'We've been sending messages,' Delahunt responded. 'I think there should be now conclusive evidence that just simply enhancing penalties is in no way going to reducing the trafficking in a particular controlled substance.'"