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May 29, 2004

50 Years After Brown

Earlier this month, the Sentencing Project produced a brief and discouraging report on incarceration rates for African Americans 50 years after the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Here's a link and the Sentencing Project's description:


Fifty years after the historic Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, a new report by The Sentencing Project finds that there are nine times as many African Americans in prison or jail as in 1954. The current figure of 884,500 dwarfs the estimated 98,000 blacks in prison or jail at the time of the Brown decision. The report attributes these developments to a punitive response to social problems along with a set of harsh criminal justice policies that have been enacted in recent decades.

May 29, 2004 in Offender Characteristics, Race, Class, and Gender, Scope of Imprisonment | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 28, 2004

Lastest Prison Population Data

The latest report issued by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2003, documents that the American prison population grew by 2.9 percent last year, the largest increase in 4 years. This report provides a wealth of additional information, including the number of inmates and the overall incarceration rate per 100,000 residents for each State and the Federal system; trends since 1995 and percentage changes in prison populations; the number of prison inmates held in private facilities and the number of prisoners under 18 years of age held by State correctional authorities; and total numbers for prison and jail inmates by gender, race, and Hispanic origin as well as counts of jail inmates by conviction status and confinement status.

May 28, 2004 in Scope of Imprisonment | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 27, 2004

USSC Recidivism Reports

The U.S. Sentencing Commission, as part of its on-going 15-year-study of the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines, has recently released two sizeable reports on recidivism and the calculations of criminal history under the guidelines. Here are the Commission's description and links to these reports:

Measuring Recidivism: The Criminal History Computation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

The first release in the Research Series on the Recidivism of Federal Offenders, this report examines in detail the predictive statistical power of the Chapter Four Criminal History guidelines. The study uses pre-conviction and instant offense information for a sample of guideline federal offenders sentenced in fiscal year 1992, matched with their post-sentencing criminal behavior collected from FBI records. Both tabular and statistical models of recidivism outcomes report findings by criminal history category and point groupings, as well as by offender demographics, instant offense characteristics, and recidivating offense types.

Recidivism and the "First Offender"

This second release in the Research Series on the Recidivism of Federal Offenders provides an empirical foundation for the Commission’s study of recidivism rates among federal offenders with little or no criminal history prior to the federal instant offense. Using definitional frameworks established in several earlier Commission staff working group studies on “first offenders,” the data documents recidivism risk for three plausible first offender groupings. The analysis reports that recidivism risk is lowest for those offenders with least experience in the criminal justice system.

May 27, 2004 in Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Offender Characteristics, Purposes of Punishment and Sentencing | Permalink | Comments (4)