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August 22, 2006

A fascinating article from a fascinating resource

Even after doing this blog for two years (and working in the sentencing field for over a decade), I continue to discover great new resources and ideas for sentencing researchers and practitioners.  Today the new resource is the Justice Research and Statistics Association.  As explained here, JRSA is "a national nonprofit organization of state Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) directors, researchers, and practitioners throughout government, academia, and criminal justice organizations."  As detailed here, JRSA supports numerous publications, and the JSRA website includes this searchable database called ISAR (Infobase of State Activities and Research), which lists activities and publications of State Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs).  I am told that "ISAR would make it fairly easy for anyone visiting the site to find out what sentencing-related work the SAC in a particular state is doing."

To whet your appetite for all that JSRA has to offer sentencing fans, check out this recent issue of JRSA's journal, Justice Research and Policy.  Also, I can post in full text a fascinating article that appeared in the most recent issue of JRP entitled "Sentencing and Conventional Number Preferences: A Research Note."   Here is the abstract:

Prior research on sentencing has shown that judges rely heavily on "conventional number preferences" (CNPs), often defaulting to certain "preferred" sentences, e.g., three years, four years, five years, etc., that come easily to mind. Data from Wisconsin confirm that its judges, virtually unbound in their discretion, are likewise heavily influenced by CNPs, with 10 prominent sentences explaining almost all non-probation felony sentences.  Wisconsin currently spends nearly $2,300 per prisoner, per month.  Strong preferences for three-, four-, and five-year sentences, when shorter terms would suffice, cost the state millions of dollars each year.  Additionally, CNPs may result in disproportionate sentences for offenders who commit the same crime.

Download jrp_article_by_wiseman_fischer_connelly.pdf

UPDATE: This post from Correcions Sentencing discusses JRSA and JRP.

August 22, 2006 at 05:48 PM | Permalink


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