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NCJ Number: 204768 Find in a Library
Title: Model Misspecification: Why Aggregation of Offenses in Federal Sentencing Equations is Problematic
Journal: Criminology  Volume:41  Issue:4  Dated:November 2003  Pages:1449-1455
Author(s): Celesta A. Albonetti
Editor(s): Robert J. Bursik Jr.
Date Published: November 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This comment paper addresses the concern for model specification of Federal sentencing and the concern for correcting researchers Steffensmeier and Demuth’s misinterpretation of the author’s 1997 study of Federal sentencing for drug offenders sentenced in 1991-1992.
Abstract: This comment paper addresses two concerns from an analysis conducted in 2001 by researchers Steffensmeier and Demuth on a 1997 study of Federal sentencing and drug offenders. The first concern was their misrepresentation of the author’s 1997 analysis on sentence severity and drug offenders. The second concern was the errors in their interpretation of the author’s findings of the effect of the guidelines of offense severity on length of imprisonment. Steffensmeier and Demuth’s mistaken criticism, revealing a failure to understand the offense-specific and relevant conduct structure of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is important for future research. As such, model misspecification becomes problematic with their failure to understand and appreciate the importance of disaggregating guideline offense categories in equations of Federal sentencing outcomes. In addition, they offer an incorrect “correction” for interpreting the effects of final offense level and criminal history points on sentence outcomes under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In summation, Steffensmeier and Demuth fail to understand the importance of controlling for the guideline offense that drives the sentencing decision. References
Main Term(s): Sentencing/Sanctions
Index Term(s): Drug offenders; Federal sentencing guidelines; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing guidelines
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