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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 147972 Find in a Library
Author(s): W Bell; D Kahn; R Lawson; S Szydlo
Corporate Author: Carnegie Mellon University
School of Urban and Public Affairs
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 103
Sponsoring Agency: Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document contains the results of research into the impact of new sentencing laws on State prison populations in Pennsylvania.
Abstract: Researchers first examined current sentencing practice in Pennsylvania to determine how actual sentences compared to sentences specified in legislative proposals. They then developed a methodology to provide, for any sentencing proposal, estimates of the impacts of proposals in terms of: (1) total number of offenders sent to State prisons; (2) types of offenders sent to State prisons; (3) costs of housing the resulting State prison populations. Analysis showed that mandatory minimum sentencing legislation could have very large and costly impacts on the State prison system. These impacts would not result from the imposition of stiff penalties for the most serious offenses, but from the commitment to State prisons of large numbers of the least serious offenders. Furthermore, judges who found the mandatory minimum sentences too stringent might well respond to the sentencing mandates in ways (such as acquittal) that would defeat the intent of the legislation. Therefore, in view of the substantial problems associated with mandatory minimum sentences, alternative ways of improving sentencing practices should be developed. Footnotes, appendixes, tables, figures
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Courts; Pennsylvania; Sentencing/Sanctions
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