The impact of state sentencing policies on the U.S. prison population
This article examines the aggregate effects of neoclassical sentencing reforms on three often contested outcomes of these reforms. The rate of new court commitments, the average length of time inmates serve, and prison population rates across the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia are examined. Data from 1973 to 1998 across these jurisdictions are analyzed using hierarchical multivariate linear models (HMLM). Results show that on the aggregate, sentencing reforms are not directly related to changes in state prison populations; however, abolition of parole is negatively associated with state prison population rates. Two types of sentencing reforms, the voluntary sentencing guidelines and the 'three-strikes' laws are indirectly related to changes in prison populations and have opposite influences on rates of new court commitments. Of six sentencing practices examined, not one is associated with length of incarceration. These results do not support the contention that neoclassical changes to the nation's sentence policies account for the rapid increase in the state prison populations between the early 1970s and late 1990s.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Steven D. Levitt, 1995.
"The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence From Prison Overcrowding Litigation,"
NBER Working Papers
5119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
- MacKenzie, Doris Layton & Tracy, George S. & Williams, George, 1988. "Incarceration rates and demographic changes: A test of the demographic change hypothesis," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 241-253.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:37:y::i:2:p:190-199. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.