Analysis: Huge Disparities In Punishment for Domestic Extremist Violence vs International Terror Charges

Those convicted of crimes related to domestic terrorism face far shorter prison terms than those convicted of international terror crimes, even when the charges are similar, Jason Dearen and Michelle R. Smith report for the Associated Press — despite the fact that in recent years federal officials and researchers have flagged domestic extremists as the most significant terror threat in the U.S. These findings are part of a new analysis of 344 cases from researchers at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and the university’s Center for Health and Homeland Security.

The analysis ends its review period in 2019, excluding Jan 6. Related prosecutions. Researchers highlighted a number of stark disparities. For those charged failed or foiled violent attacks, domestic defendants faced sentences of only 1.6 years compared to 11.2 years for international defendants. In violent fatal attacks, domestic defendants received on average 28.8 years compared to 39.2 in international cases. Researchers also highlighted that international terrorism defendants received supervision orders exponentially higher than those charged with domestic terrorism crimes, despite a 50% recidivism rate for domestic extremists and a “vanishingly low” rate of recidivism among international terror defendants.

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