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NCJ Number: 147954 Find in a Library
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(1994)  Pages:13-26
Author(s): R Triplett; S L Miller
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 14
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Case processing in Harris County (Texas) was studied to test the hypothesis that when the criminal justice system is working under a limited capacity to punish due to prison overcrowding, the processing of some types of crimes might be emphasized over the processing of other types.
Abstract: Data came from a comparison of the processing of sexual assault cases with the processing of robbery and aggravated assault over the period 1980-88 in the County. Results revealed that prison use increased for aggravated assault and for sexual assault of both children and adults, while for robbery the use of prison decreased slightly. Jail usage increased for aggravated assault and robbery, while it decreased for sexual assault cases. Prison sentence lengths also tended to increase, except for cases of aggravated assault. These trends seem to suggest that sexual assault cases are not dismissed during times of a limited capacity to punish. However, findings indicated that at earlier points of processing a reluctance existed to prosecute cases of sexual assault of an adult. Therefore, it is premature to conclude that in times of a limited capacity to punish, the prosecution of violent crimes committed against women might be deemphasized to make space for cases more likely to end in conviction. Instead, criminal case processing includes more complexities than can be understood simply through an examination of the likelihood of conviction. Tables, note, and 41 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Case processing; Criminal justice system policy; Prison overcrowding; Texas
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