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NCJ Number: 210286 Find in a Library
Title: Predicting Offender-Generated Exchange Rates: Implications for a Theory of Sentence Severity
Journal: Crime & Delinquency  Volume:51  Issue:3  Dated:July 2005  Pages:373-399
Author(s): Donald C. May; Peter . B. Wood; Jennifer L. Mooney; Kevin I. Minor
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 27
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study surveyed a sample of offenders to determine their assessments of the comparative severity of various custodial and noncustodial sentences.
Abstract: Data were collected during the fall of 2003 from seven State probation and parole offices in Kentucky. The sample consisted of 612 probationers and parolees. The data-collection instrument was an eight-page questionnaire adapted from the one used by Wood and Grasmick (1999), Wood and May (2003), and Wood et al. The instrument presented respondents with questions designed to assess demographic characteristics and previous correctional experiences. Descriptions of nine alternative sanctions were presented, including county jail, boot camp, electronic monitoring, regular probation, community service, day reporting, intermittent incarceration, halfway house placement, and day fine. After reading the description of the alternative, respondents were asked to consider how many months of the alternative they would be willing to serve to avoid 12 months imprisonment. Three scales assessed offenders' attitudes about alternative sanctions, and they were asked to rate the importance of four statements that related to the nature of incarceration in prison as reasons to avoid prison and thus participate in alternatives. Ordinary least squares regression was used to examine the impact of predictor variables on the hours of community service and the months of electronic monitoring and halfway house residence probationers and parolees would serve to avoid 12 months in prison. Consistent with previous work, the study determined that although some offenders may perceive imprisonment as the most punitive correctional sanction, this is not true for all or even most of them. The findings suggest that offender perceptions of sanction severity are primarily influenced by offenders' demographic characteristics (specifically age, race, and to some degree gender); prior prison experience; perceptions of the inconvenience, intrusiveness, and overall punitiveness of intermediate sanctions; and conditions that may affect the pain and suffering associated with imprisonment. 4 tables, 5 notes, 26 references, and appended study instrument
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Incarceration; Offender attitudes; Penalty severity rating; Sentencing factors; Sentencing/Sanctions
Note: An earlier version of this article was presented at the Annual Meetings of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Las Vegas in March 2004.
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