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Chapter 3. Sentencing Trends and Incarceration. Introduction (1 of 2). There are about 2 million incarcerated in prisons and jails Rate of growth slowing down Incarceration rate displays by per 100,000 Advantages: allows comparisons over time and between jurisdictions.

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Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Sentencing Trends and Incarceration


Introduction (1 of 2)

  • There are about 2 million incarcerated in prisons and jails

  • Rate of growth slowing down

  • Incarceration rate displays by per 100,000

    • Advantages: allows comparisons over time and between jurisdictions


Introduction(2 of 2)

  • National average (2003) 482 per 100,000

  • Some states have higher than average

    • Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas

  • Go to

    • http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/correct.htm

  • Federal system has almost doubled in past decade


Prison Inmates

  • Women and minorities have been differentially affected.

  • Rates are different by race and sex

    • White women: 38 per 100,000

    • Black women: 185 per 100,000

  • From 1995–2003

    • Male inmates increased 29%

    • Female inmates increased by 48%


Sentencing Reforms

  • Sentencing structures

    • Indeterminate

    • Partially indeterminate

    • Determinate

  • presumptive


The Supreme Court and the Sentencing Process

  • Sentencing guidelines – federal & state

  • U.S. v. Booker & U.S. v. Fan Fan

    • Raises doubts about legality


Chronic Offender Legislation

  • Three strikes law – in California and elsewhere

  • Found constitutional by Supreme Court and voters rejected changes to it


Drug Offenders and Prison Overcrowding

  • Majority of those sentenced are drug users who commit property crimes.

  • Crimes and recidivist property offenders

  • Drug crimes

    • 31% of all state prison sentences

    • 45% of all federal sentences

  • Racial differences in sentencing

  • Drug sentencing affects women

    • Greater % of women sentenced for drug crimes


Responding to Overcrowding

  • 22 states and federal system operating over capacity

  • Overcrowding as a cause of stress?

  • Strategies to Fight Overcrowding

    • Construction, increasing existing facilities, double bunking, increased use of local jails, community based correctional services

    • Courts may require states to reduce capacity

    • 2001 – prison expenditures was $29.5 billion

    • Contracting with private providers


Texas and California: Leaders in Incarceration

  • Texas – 166,911

  • California – 164,487

  • 25% of all U.S. prisoners in these 2 states

  • Prisons cost each resident of the U.S. $104 per year


Front End Strategies to Fight Overcrowding

  • Increased use of probation; intermediate sanctions

  • Drug courts

  • Minnesota is a leader

  • Problem of net-widening


Back End Strategies to Fight Overcrowding

  • Early release; parole

  • Texas and California combined have about 1 million on parole and probation

  • NCCD’s research shows early release does not endanger the public


Future Directions

  • Three strikes

    • Research shows how expensive these laws are

  • Do the deter crime?

    • Research is mixed but most show no effect

  • Other criticism is that use of three-strikes varies by county


Social Costs of Prison Expansion

  •  “Opportunity costs”

    • Money spent on prison is not spent on education, health care, etc.

  • More African American men in prison than college?


Conclusions

  • Research doesn’t show connection between three strikes and greater reduction of crime.

  • Public opinion polls show Americans may be softening in their desire for long prison sentences.


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