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NCJ Number: 201953 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice Policy Innovation in the States
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:14  Issue:3  Dated:September 2003  Pages:401-422
Author(s): Jackson Williams
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 22
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined factors influencing State’s adoption of four criminal justice policy innovations in the early 1990’s.
Abstract: “Truth-in-Sentencing” laws (TIS), “Three-Strikes-You’re-Out” laws, boot camps for convicted offenders, and juvenile court transfer provisions were all adopted at the State and Federal levels in the early 1990’s, during a time when many Americans considered crime to be the most important problem facing the country. The driving force behind this study was a desire to understand why a society has particular laws. After describing various types of criminal justice legislation, the author offers both sociological and political science perspectives on the making of criminal laws. Research methodology in the current study included the examination of a dataset containing 48 cases for 48 States; data included a cross-sectional observation of (1) whether a State had adopted TIS by 1997; (2) whether a State had instituted a boot camp program by 1995; (3) whether a State had adopted a Three Strikes law by 1997; and (4) whether a State had enacted or altered a juvenile transfer provision between 1992 and 1995. Results of logistic regression analysis revealed that a State’s crime rate was positively correlated with adoption of the laws. Other objective State factors like sentence length were not significantly correlated with adoption of the laws. In particular, voter ideology and political culture had little impact on whether a State adopted these four criminal justice policies. The author concluded that adoption of the laws was more dependent upon political entrepreneurs than on State characteristics, which is consistent with now-classic political science models that posit that legislators enact policies that they believe the public wants and will thus lead to reelection. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Legislation; Policy analysis
Index Term(s): State laws; State-by-state analyses; Three Strikes Laws
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