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NCJ Number: 119959 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Changes and Prison Population: The Transient Effects
Author(s): C S Venkatakrishnan
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 72
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
UMI Dissertation Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 86-IJ-CX-0070
Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
300 North Zeeb Road
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
United States of America
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A methodology to model the short term effects of changes in sentence structure on prison population is developed, using data from Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Abstract: The transient effects of increases in the average sentence length are studied. Initially it is assumed that the changes in sentence structure are implemented immediately, and that the offender population is invariant with time. The results show that, in a wide variety of examples, the prison population does not rise monotonically from the old steady state to the new one. Rather, it increases to a short term peak, and subsequently declines to the long term value. Two types of changes are reviewed in sentencing policy. Under the Type I change, those receiving positive sentences are given longer sentences on average, and those receiving suspended sentences are unaffected. Under the Type II change, those receiving suspended sentences are given positive sentences, and those receiving positive sentences continue to receive terms of the same length. The ratio p of the initial increase to the final increase varies with the type of change in sentence structure and the offender population to which it is applied. For a homogeneous offender class, p is, on average, 1.14 for a Type I change, and 1.19 for a Type II change; for a subgroup of high rate offenders, it is, on average, 1.22 and 1.30 respectively. Finally, the model is used to study the Pennsylvania prison population. From data about the recent increases in the prison population, the changes that must have taken place in sentencing policies are developed. Future levels of the Pennsylvania prison population are then projected, based on the transient effects of these changes. If there are no more changes in sentence structure and criminal behavior in Pennsylvania, then, given our conjectures of the changes in sentencing policies, the increase in the Pennsylvania prison population will soon cease and the level will decline after 1992. 7 references, 20 figures, 7 tables. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Incarceration; Sentencing/Sanctions
Index Term(s): Illinois; Long range planning; Pennsylvania; Prison overcrowding
Note: Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- masters thesis
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