Sentencing Guidelines (sentencing + guideline)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


MODEL MISSPECIFICATION: WHY AGGREGATION OF OFFENSES IN FEDERAL SENTENCING EQUATIONS IS PROBLEMATIC

CRIMINOLOGY, Issue 4 2003
CELESTA A. ALBONETTI
This paper addresses two concerns that arise from Steffensmeier and Demuth (2001) analysis of federal sentencing and their misrepresentation of my analyses of sentence severity (Albonetti, 1997). My primary concern is to alert researchers to the importance of controlling for the guidelines offense that drives the sentencing process under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. My second concern is to correct Steffensmeier and Demuth's (2001) errors in interpretation of my earlier findings of the effect of guidelines offense severity on length of imprisonment. [source]


UNITED STATES V. BOOKER AS A NATURAL EXPERIMENT: USING EMPIRICAL RESEARCH TO INFORM THE FEDERAL SENTENCING POLICY DEBATE,

CRIMINOLOGY AND PUBLIC POLICY, Issue 3 2007
PAUL J. HOFER
Research Summary: In United States v. Booker, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the federal sentencing guidelines must be considered advisory, rather than mandatory, if they are to remain constitutional under the Sixth Amendment. Since the decision, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has provided policy makers with accurate and current data on changes and continuity in federal sentencing practices. Unlike previous changes in legal doctrine, Booker immediately increased the rates of upward and downward departures from the guideline range. Government-sponsored downward departures remain the leading category of outside,the-range sentences. The rate of within-range sentences, although lower than in the period immediately preceding Booker, remains near rates observed earlier in the guidelines era. Despite the increase in departures, average sentence lengths for the overall caseload remain stable, because of offsetting increases in the seriousness of the crimes being sentenced and in the severity of penalties for those crimes. Analyses of the reasons that judges reported for downward departures suggest that treatment of criminal history and offender characteristics are the two leading areas of dissatisfaction with the guidelines. Policy Implications: Assessment of changes in sentencing practices following Booker by different observers depends partly on competing institutional perspectives and on different degrees of trust in the judgment of judges, prosecutors, the Sentencing Commission, and Congress. No agreement on whether Booker has bettered or worsened the system can be achieved until agreement exists on priorities among the purposes of sentencing and the goals of sentencing reform. Both this lack of agreement and an absence of needed data make consensus on Booker's effects on important sentencing goals, such as reduction of unwarranted disparity, unlikely in the near future. Similarly, lack of baseline data before Booker on the effectiveness of federal sentencing at crime control makes before-after comparisons impossible. Despite these limitations, research provides a sounder framework for policy making than do anecdotes or speculation and sets valuable empirical parameters for the federal sentencing policy debate. [source]


Forecasting murder within a population of probationers and parolees: a high stakes application of statistical learning

JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL STATISTICAL SOCIETY: SERIES A (STATISTICS IN SOCIETY), Issue 1 2009
Richard Berk
Summary., Forecasts of future dangerousness are often used to inform the sentencing decisions of convicted offenders. For individuals who are sentenced to probation or paroled to community supervision, such forecasts affect the conditions under which they are to be supervised. The statistical criterion for these forecasts is commonly called recidivism, which is defined as a charge or conviction for any new offence, no matter how minor. Only rarely do such forecasts make distinctions on the basis of the seriousness of offences. Yet seriousness may be central to public concerns, and judges are increasingly required by law and sentencing guidelines to make assessments of seriousness. At the very least, information about seriousness is essential for allocating scarce resources for community supervision of convicted offenders. The paper focuses only on murderous conduct by individuals on probation or parole. Using data on a population of over 60000 cases from Philadelphia's Adult Probation and Parole Department, we forecast whether each offender will be charged with a homicide or attempted homicide within 2 years of beginning community supervision. We use a statistical learning approach that makes no assumptions about how predictors are related to the outcome. We also build in the costs of false negative and false positive charges and use half of the data to build the forecasting model, and the other half of the data to evaluate the quality of the forecasts. Forecasts that are based on this approach offer the possibility of concentrating rehabilitation, treatment and surveillance resources on a small subset of convicted offenders who may be in greatest need, and who pose the greatest risk to society. [source]


Evaluating the Pluses and Minuses of Custody: Sentencing Reform in England and Wales

THE HOWARD JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, Issue 3 2003
Julian V. Roberts
This article explores three sanctions contained in the 2002 Criminal Justice Bill which follows upon the 2002 white paper Justice for All. The Bill creates a Sentencing Guidelines Council to develop sentencing guidelines, and defines three dispositions applicable to sentences of imprisonment under twelve months: ,Custody Plus', the suspended sentence of imprisonment, and the intermittent sentence of imprisonment. These reforms constitute a significant step for the sentencing process in England and Wales, and are in part a response to the 2001 Halliday Report. The changes (among others) may well have an important impact on the prison population in England and Wales, which in October 2002 reached a record level. Since the suspended sentence of imprisonment bears close resemblance to the conditional sentence of imprisonment introduced in Canada in 1996, the article makes comparisons between the two sanctions. [source]