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March 12, 2023

"Evaluating the (F)utility of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws in Pennsylvania"

The title of this post is the title of this new article recently published in the Justice Evaluation Journal and authored by Nicole Frisch-Scott, Anat Kimchi and Kristofer Bucklen.  Here is its abstract:

In the current criminal justice policy sphere mandatory minimum sentencing serves two important purposes 1) they are used as a punitive response to immediate crime concerns and 2) their removal is viewed as a tool to conserve resources, decarcerate, and promote fairness in sentencing.  Though much research explores how the passage of these laws relates to crime, the literature has not focused on the public safety implications of removing mandatory minimum sentences. Using a comparative interrupted time-series approach, the present work investigates whether a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that invalidated several mandatory minimum sentencing provisions impacted the state’s crime rate.  We find little to no evidence of a discrete shift in overall or type-disaggregated crime rates, or changes in the slope of any crime trend when the state reduced their use of mandatory minimums.  These findings tentatively suggest that many mandatory minimums can be repealed without risking public safety.

March 12, 2023 at 08:46 PM | Permalink


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