Changing the Sentencing Grid?
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Changing the Sentencing Grid? Creating a “Crime Impact Statement” (to accompany a fiscal impact statement) to Assist Decision Making Sentencing Guidelines Commission SeaTac, Washington June 12, 2009. Steve Aos Assistant Director

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Changing the sentencing grid

Changing the Sentencing Grid?

Creating a “Crime Impact Statement” (to accompany a fiscal impact statement)

to Assist Decision Making

Sentencing Guidelines Commission

SeaTac, Washington

June 12, 2009

Steve Aos

Assistant Director

Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Phone: (360) 586-2740

E-mail: [email protected]

Institute Publications: www.wsipp.wa.gov

1 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

Example

Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Created by the 1983 Legislature

  • Mission: carry out non–partisan research on projects assigned by the legislature or the Institute’s Board of Directors

  • Board of Directors

  • Senator Karen Fraser

  • Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles

  • Senator Pam Roach

  • Senator Mark Schoesler

  • Representative Glenn Anderson

  • Representative Mary Lou Dickerson

  • Representative Phyllis Kenney

  • Representative Skip Priest

  • Ken Conte, House Staff

  • Richard Rodger, Senate Staff

  • Robin Arnold-Williams, Gov. Policy

  • Victor Moore, OFM

  • Sandra Archibald, Univ. of WA

  • Andrew Bodman, Western WA Univ.

  • Les Purce, The Evergreen State Col.

  • Robert Rosenman, WA State Univ.

2 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

Example

What We’ll Cover Today

  • Context: Some Key Washington Trends

    • Crime rates and taxpayer costs

    • Incarceration rates

  • The Big Limitation (to producing a “Crime Impact Statement”)

  • Some Numbers: Crime, Risk, & Incapacitation

    • DOC risk assessment information

    • The prison/crime relationship

    • Diminishing returns

  • An Example “Crime Impact Statement”

    • The Institute’s analysis of the 5990 earned early release law

3 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Percent Change Since 1980

+140%

Taxpayer Costs Are Up

(Inflation-Adjusted, Total State & Local Criminal Justice Dollars Per Household)

+120%

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

+100%

$

$

$

+80%

$

$

+60%

$

$

$

+40%

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

+20%

$

$

$

0%

-20%

Crime Rates Are Down

-40%

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

All data are for Washington State. Monetary values in 2007 dollars. Crime rates cover major felony crimes as reported to police.

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

Example

The Big Picture:

Crime Rates & Taxpayer Costs: 1980 to 2007

In 1980, taxpayers spent $557 per household on the criminal justice system.

Today they spend $1,223 per year.

A 120% increase.

In 2007, crime rates were 39% lower than they were in 1980.

4 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

Example

Adult and Juvenile (State) Incarceration Rates

In Washington: 1960 to 2008

Adults incarcerated per one thousand 18- to 49-year olds

Juveniles incarcerated per one thousand 10- to 17-year olds

7

6

US

(adult)

5

4

DOC

(adult)

3

JRA

(juvenile)

2

1

0

1960

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

Source: WSIPP analysis of data from the Caseload Forecast Council, OFM, and the US Bureau of Justice Statistics

5 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

The Big Limitation

Context

Crime, Risk, Prison

Example

Two Typical Goals of a Sentencing Grid…

  • …Punish Past Crimes A grid that makes offenders “pay” for their previous crimes—“just desserts”

  • …Avoid Future Crimes A grid that tries to reduce future crimes from happening, via…

    • …Incapacitation (crimes avoided while an offender is incarcerated)

    • …General deterrence (send a message to would-be offenders)

    • …Rehabilitation (crimes avoided after an offender is released)

Our Analytical Focus

6 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Crime, Risk, Prison

Context

The Big Limitation

Example

13-Year Felony Reconviction Rates

(in Washington) for Offenders Leaving Prison

Type of Offender Leaving Prison

Sex

Property

Drug

Violent

(not sex)

Percent Reconvicted for any new Felony

52%

29%

70%

51%

By Type of Most Serious

Reconviction

24%

8%

23%

14%

Violent (not sex)

3%

11%

3%

1%

Sex Reconviction

16%

7%

37%

12%

Property Reconviction

9%

3%

7%

24%

Drug Reconviction

Source: WSIPP analysis of data from the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Corrections

7 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Crime, Risk, Prison

Context

The Big Limitation

Example

Recidivism in Washington State:

The DOC Risk Assessment of Felony Offenders

OAA (1999) requires DOC to classify and supervise offenders according to risk to re-offend and harm done.

Improved risk assessment developed by Institute (2005).

Results of the DOC risk classification:

Distribution of Offenders

3

-

Year

Felony Recidivism*

Prison

Community

Prison

Community

DOC Risk Group

High,

Violent

32%

13%

61%

56%

Violent

High, Non-

37%

25%

52%

52%

Moderate

18%

37%

28%

27%

Lower

13%

25%

13%

14%

Total

100%

100%

45%

34%

* Re-conviction in WA

How accurate is the risk assessment? It is about half way to perfection—it is about mid-way between 100% accuracy and simply tossing a coin.

8 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Crime, Risk, Prison

Context

The Big Limitation

Example

The Timing of Recidivism in Washington State:

The DOC Risk Assessment of Felony Offenders for…

…a New Felony Conviction

…a Violent Felony Conviction

4.5%

4.5%

Classified by DOC as:

High, Violent

4.0%

4.0%

3.5%

3.5%

3.0%

3.0%

High,

Non-

Violent

2.5%

2.5%

2.0%

2.0%

Classified by DOC as:

High, Violent

1.5%

1.5%

Moderate

1.0%

1.0%

0.5%

0.5%

Lower

0.0%

0.0%

1

6

12

18

24

30

36

1

6

12

18

24

30

36

Months After Being At-Risk in the Community

Months After Being At-Risk in the Community

Source: WSIPP analysis of data from the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Corrections

9 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

80

If Prison Really Works

'88

'87

1980

'86

70

'89

'85

'91

'81

'92

'95

Washington’s Crime Rate

(non-drug crimes per 1,000 pop)

'90

'97

'82

60

'83

'84

'98

If Prison Doesn’t Work

'93

'94

'96

'04

'99

'05

'03

'00

'01

'02

50

'06

40

2

3

4

5

Washington’s Incarceration Rate (ADP per 1,000 pop)

Crime, Risk, Prison

Context

The Big Limitation

Example

Does Prison Affect the Crime Rate?

A 10% change in incarceration rate leads to a 2% to 4% change in the crime rate.

Each data point is that year's

incarceration rate and crime rate.

10 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Diminishing Returns

The more you do of something, the smaller your added benefit

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

0

5

1

10

2

15

3

20

4

25

5

30

6

Incarceration Rate in Washington

Starbucks Stores in Olympia

Crime, Risk, Prison

Context

The Big Limitation

Example

Prison & Diminishing Returns

As incarceration rates are raised, prison’s marginal effectiveness declines

1980

Crimes Avoided

Per New Prison Bed

Profit Per New Store Added

2005

Estimates for Washington State

11 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Crime, Risk, Prison

Context

The Big Limitation

Example

The Economics of Changing the Incarceration Rate

  • Changing the Incarceration Rate Will (Probably) Affect the Crime Rate

    • Magnitude of the effect varies by:

      • The total incarceration rate (diminishing returns happen)

      • The type and risk level of offenders incarcerated

      • Estimates of the effect are imprecise

  • Benefits and Costs: Things We Can Measure

    • State and local taxpayer costs: police, courts, prosecutors, defenders, juvenile and adult corrections

    • Cost to crime victims: we use national estimates

    • Lost earnings of those incarcerated

  • Things We Can’t Measure (at all, or well)

    • The value of just desserts, retribution, vengeance

    • Other offender costs of incapacitation: other costs to offender families and society

12 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Example

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

A “Crime Impact Statement” — an Example

From a Recent Institute Report Evaluating a 2003 Law That

Increased Earned Release Time from Prison

for Lower-Risk Non-Violent Offenders

(an average 63 day shorter prison stay)

Benefits per offender released early

Prison costs saved from reduced length of stay

$5,501

Recidivism

effect

(we found lower 3-year recidivism)

Future

crime victim costs avoided

$5,096

Future

taxpayer costs avoided

$2,968

Increased labor market earnings

$1,785

Total

benefits per average offender

$15,359

Costs per offender released early

$8,179

Incapacitation

effect: Total increase in crime costs

(taxpayers and victims) due to reduced incarceration rate.

Bottom Line

Net

benefits per

participant (benefits minus costs)

$7,180

Benefit

-

to

-

cost ratio

$1.88

13 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Example

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

Measuring the Uncertainty in Our Bottom Line of the “Crime Impact Statement”

300

Break Even: $1.00

Base Case: $1.88

  • We varied key estimates and assumptions in our base-case analysis.

  • We re-ran the model 10,000 times, testing to see how often a benefit-to-cost ratio would indicate a bad outcome (less than $1 of benefit per dollar of cost).

250

91% of the 10,000 Cases Had a Benefit-to-Cost Ratio Greater than $1.00

200

150

100

50

0

$0.00

$1.00

$2.00

$3.00

$4.00

$5.00

$6.00

$7.00

$8.00

$9.00

$10.00

Benefit-to-Cost Ratio

14 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Summary

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

Summary

  • Changing the Sentencing Grid?

    • Be careful; crime rates will be affected

  • Using Offender Risk and Cost-Benefit Information Can Provide Useful Information

    • Remember, however, the “big limitation” to the analysis

  • Bottom Line: it is probably possible to find combinations of sentencing grid adjustments that can reduce crime rates and save taxpayers money

15 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Percent Change Since 1980

+140%

Taxpayer Costs Are Up

(Inflation-Adjusted, Total State & Local Criminal Justice Dollars Per Household)

+120%

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

+100%

$

$

$

+80%

$

$

+60%

$

$

$

+40%

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

+20%

$

$

$

0%

-20%

Crime Rates Are Down

-40%

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

All data are for Washington State. Monetary values in 2007 dollars. Crime rates cover major felony crimes as reported to police.

Summary

Context

The Big Limitation

Crime, Risk, Prison

The Big Picture Revisited:

Crime Rates & Taxpayer Costs: 1980 to 2007

In 1980, taxpayers spent $557 per household on the criminal justice system.

Today they spend $1,223 per year.

A 120% increase.

In 2007, crime rates were 39% lower than they were in 1980.

16 of 16


Changing the sentencing grid

Thank You!


Changing the sentencing grid

MDT Foster Care-22.0% (3)$77,798

Reducing Crime: Some Findings

Evidence

Topics

Outcomes

Economics

Next Steps

Change In Crime

(# of EB Studies)

Benefits - Costs

(per-person, life cycle)

Adult Offenders

Adult Drug Courts-8.0% (57)$4,767

Education Prgs., Prison-7.0% (17)$10,669

Drug Tx in Prison (TC or out-patient)-5.7% (20) $7,835

Cog-Behavioral Treatment-6.3% (25)$10,299

ISP: surveillance-0.0% (23)-$3,747

ISP: treatment-17.1% (11)$11,563

  • We located and analyzed 57rigorous drug court outcome evaluations conducted in the United States.

  • On average they reduced recidivism rates 8 percent.

    • Withoutdrug court, an offender has a58%chance of being reconvicted for a new felony or misdemeanor after 13 years;

    • Withdrug court, the odds drop to about54%.

  • The reduced recidivism generates a NET gain of$4,767per drug court participant.

    • We estimate drug courts cost$4,333more per person than regular court processing (court costs, treatment); benefits of reduced recidivism total$9,100 totaxpayers(lower criminal justice costs) andcrime victims(reduced victimization).

Juvenile Offenders

Functional Family Thpy.-15.9% (7)$31,821

Multisystemic Therapy-10.5% (10)$18,213

Aggression Repl. Trng.-7.3% (4)$14,660

Family Int. Transitions-13.0% (1)$40,545

Restorative Justice (low risk)-8.7% (21)$7,067

Prevention

Pre-School* (low income)-14.2% (8)$12,196

Nurse Family Partnership*-36.3% (2)$18,052

12 of 17

Why focus on juveniles if our focus is prison?

73% of adults in Washington’s prisons have been in Washington’s juvenile justice system


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