Use of federal probation has rapidly declined, study finds

Nearly 1 out of every 10 people who went to prison in 2014 for a federal crime received a community sentence, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public safety performance project released Tuesday.

Federal courts sentenced 2,300 fewer offenders to probation in 2014 than in 1980, even though their caseload nearly tripled during that span, The Pew Charitable Trusts found.

The fact sheet says Congress enacted laws in the 1980s and 1990s that prohibited probation and required mandatory minimum prison sentences for common federal crimes such as drug trafficking and possessing an illegal firearm.

The numbers come ahead of President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, where he is likely to touch on the push for criminal justice reform.