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This paper does a great job in explaining how your criminal justice system can greatly reduce incarceration while ensuring community safety. "We [the authors] argue that states should reevaluate their policy choices and reduce the scope and severity of several of the sentencing practices that they have implemented over the past twenty-five or thirty years. We propose that states introduce a greater degree of discretion into their sentencing and parole practices through two specific reforms: (1) a reduction in the scope and severity of truth-in-sentencing laws that mandate that inmates serve minimum proportions of their sentences, and (2) a reworking and, in many instances, abandonment of mandatory minimum sentences. We also propose that states create incentives for localities to limit their use of state prison systems" (p. 2). Five chapters follow an abstract: introduction; mass incarceration in the United States; a proposal to reduce incarceration through smarter use of prisons; questions and concerns; and conclusion.

A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime Cover

"The dominant narrative around recidivism in America is that most released offenders go on to reoffend and return to prison. In new research, William Rhodes argues that this impression is wrong and that two out of every three released offenders never return to prison. He argues that previous estimates about recidivism have failed to take into account the overrepresentation of returnees in prisons. Accounting for this factor, he finds that only 11 percent of offenders return to prison more than once, and that the total time that offenders actually spend in prison is overestimated as well." This article is based on "Following Incarceration, Most Released Offenders Never Return to Prison", from the journal Crime & Delinquency (published online before print September 29, 2014).

American Prisons Are Not a Revolving Door: Most Released Offenders Never Return cover

The reduction of recidivism by state judiciaries utilizing six principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) is explained. Seven sections follow an executive summary: introduction; current state sentencing policies and their consequences; drug courts -- the state judiciary's successful experiment with EBP; the principles of EBP; local sentencing and corrections policy reforms; state sentencing and corrections policy reforms; and conclusion. "[C]arefully targeted rehabilitation and treatment programs can reduce offender recidivism by conservative estimates of 10-20%" (p. 72).

Evidence-Based Practice to Reduce Recidivism Cover

This report describes "the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes associated with the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment, using data from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Tables and text describe arrests and investigations by law enforcement agency and growth rates by type of offense and federal judicial district. This report examines trends in drug arrests by the DEA. It also provides the number of offenders returning to federal prison within 3 years of release and includes the most recently available data on sentences imposed and their lengths by type of offense".

Federal Justice Statistics, 2011 - 2012 Cover

This report provides "annual data on workload, activities, and outcomes associated with federal criminal cases. Information is acquired on all aspects of processing in the federal justice system, including the number of persons investigated, prosecuted, convicted, incarcerated, sentenced to probation, released pretrial, and under parole or other supervision; initial prosecution decisions, referrals to magistrates, court dispositions, sentencing outcomes, sentence length, and time served. The program collects data from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), the Pretrial Services Agency (PSA), the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO), the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). "

Federal Justice Statistics, 2011 - Statistical Tables Cover

This report describes "the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes associated with the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment, using data from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Tables and text describe arrests and investigations by law enforcement agency and growth rates by type of offense and federal judicial district. This report examines trends in drug arrests by the DEA. It also provides the number of offenders returning to federal prison within 3 years of release and includes the most recently available data on sentences imposed and their lengths by type of offense".

Federal Justice Statistics, 2012 - Statistical Tables Cover

This is an excellent exploration regarding the impacts of increased length of stay (LOS) on the population of incarcerated individuals and the subsequent recidivism of those offenders. Sections of this article address: drivers of prison, parole, probation, and jail populations; justifications for longer prison terms—general or specific deterrence, and general and selective incapacitation; what the evidence shows; and policy implications. "The science on how much time prisoners should serve from a public safety perspective is very clear. Increasing or decreasing prisoner LOS has no impact on recidivism or crime rates. But it has an extremely dramatic impact on the size of the prison population. Were we to return the LOS that existed in the 1990s and that now exists in many states, the nation’s state prison population would decline by more than 500,000 inmates. It would not impact existing recidivism or crime rates. If we truly want to reduce the nation’s prison populations, we will have to reverse and nullify all of the legislative and agency policies that have served to fuel the historic increases in the nation’s prison population by increasing time served. This means reducing the lengths of imprisonment for all inmates — not just nonviolent offenders" (p. 76).

How Much Time Should Prisoners Serve? Cover

“This paper revisits the much argued question about the relative merits of prison and community sentences. We decided to write it out of a sense that debate has become trapped in an unproductive Punch and Judy fight about which of the two sentences ‘works’ better. To anticipate our conclusions, assessed in narrow instrumental terms the arguments are more finely balanced than either side usually recognise. However, pro- and anti-prison camps are really arguing – in an oblique sort of way – about broader values, and if this paper helps to promote a more mature debate about penal policy that recognises this, we shall have succeeded in our task” (p. 5). Sections of this publication include: introduction; who is right—general deterrence, the impact of the punishment in the punished and differences in revocation rates, incarceration and keeping people who offend out of circulation, and cost-benefit analysis; and the purpose of community or custodial sentences.

Balancing the Effects Cover

"Each time a person is arrested and accused of a crime, a decision must be made as to whether the accused person, known as the defendant, will be detained in jail awaiting trial or will be released back into the community. But pretrial detention is not simply an either-or proposition; many defendants are held for a number of days before being released at some point before their trial. The release-and-detention decision takes into account a number of different concerns, including protecting the community, the need for defendants to appear in court, and upholding the legal and constitutional rights afforded to accused persons awaiting trial. It carries enormous consequences not only for the defendant but also for the safety of the community" (p. 3). This study examines the relationship between pretrial detention and sentencing. Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; sample description; and findings for eight research questions regarding the relations between pretrial detention and sentencing. Defendants who are detained for the entire pretrial period are three times more likely to be sentenced to jail or prison and to receive longer jail and prison sentences.

Investigating the Impact of Pretrial Detention on Sentencing Outcomes cover

"In 2013, 35 states passed at least 85 bills to change some aspect of how their criminal justice systems address sentencing and corrections. In reviewing this legislative activity, the Vera Institute of Justice found that policy changes have focused mainly on the following five areas: reducing prison populations and costs; expanding or strengthening community-based corrections; implementing risk and needs assessments; supporting offender reentry into the community; and making better informed criminal justice policy through data-driven research and analysis. By providing concise summaries of representative legislation in each area, this report aims to be a practical guide for policymakers in other states and the federal government looking to enact similar changes in criminal justice policy" (p. 4). Sections of this report include: about this report; introduction; reducing prison populations and costs; expanding or strengthening community corrections; implementing risk and needs assessments; supporting the reentry of offenders into the community; making better informed criminal justice policy; and conclusion. Two appendixes provide information about: sentencing and corrections legislation by state, 2013; and sentencing and corrections by reform type, 2013.

Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends Cover

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