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SU’s TRAC: Federal prosecutions sharply higher in 2009
According to timely U.S. Justice Department data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), the total number of federal criminal filings reached an all time high in the just-ended fiscal year as a result of an unusual flood of immigration prosecutions.
TRAC is a data gathering, data research and data distribution organization at Syracuse University. The purpose of TRAC is to provide the American people—and institutions of oversight such as Congress, news organizations, public interest groups, businesses, scholars and lawyers—with comprehensive information about staffing, spending and enforcement activities of the federal government.
The latest data show that the number of all kinds of federal criminal prosecutions peaked at 169,612 cases in fiscal year 2009, up nearly 9 percent from the previous year’s total of 155,694 and up 42 percent from five years ago, when prosecutions came to only 119,492. The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.
This across-the-board increase occurred even while the counts for most of the broad categories of cases the Justice Department used to track its activities were up only slightly, or actually had declined.
The major factor driving the overall increase has been the sharp rise in individuals prosecuted for immigration offenses. Last year, immigration prosecutions jumped 15.7 percent—from 79,431 during fiscal year 2008 to 91,899 in fiscal year 2009. One notable result of TRAC’s analysis is that of these 91,899 immigration prosecutions, only 13 employers in eight cases were prosecuted for the felony offense of illegal hiring of undocumented workers.
To read the full report and data tables on this story, visit: http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/223/.