What portion of drug offenders released from prison are arrested for a non-drug crime (like assault, theft, and fraud) within 5 years?
A study of 34 states by the U.S. Department of Justice found that 62% of drug offenders released from prison in 2012 were arrested for a non-drug crime within 5 years. Those non-drug offenses include homicide, rape, assault, burglary, larceny, fraud/forgery, and public order crimes. Contrary to the belief that U.S. prisons are teeming with people who have committed no crime but drug usage, a 2005 paper in the journal Contemporary Drug Problems found that 85% to 98% of those in prison for drug usage in 1997 had plea bargained down from being charged with a more serious offense. Thus, the study estimated that "0.5% to 3.6% of all prison inmates" in 1997 were incarcerated "solely for their drug use," with an average time served of less than 7 hours for every $1,000 of drugs consumed.