The average prison time given to Baltimore's felony gun offenders doubled in 2011 to more than five years in state institutions from 32 months in 2009, reports the Baltimore Sun. Federally indicted gun cases were up 16 percent during the two-year period, and non-fatal shootings were down by the same percentage. “These results are a product of a smart enforcement strategy focused on violent offenders and illegal guns, strong partnerships with communities and state and federal criminal justice agencies, and strategic legislative advocacy,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Reducing gun crime and increasing penalties has been a focus of her administration. She commended State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein, who took office in January 2011, and his staff for their “increased focus on getting illegal guns, and criminals who use them, off the streets.” The increase in prison time for felony gun offenders is the result of judges’ giving longer average sentences — 118 months last year — and suspending less of the term. Three years ago, those convicted of felony gun crimes got 91 month prison terms, though most of it, 65 percent, was suspended, leaving just 32 months of actual time. Last year, the difference left 63 months to serve.