skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 220675 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Using Statistical Treatment Rules: What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:23  Issue:4  Dated:December 2007  Pages:377-387
Author(s): Shawn Bushway; Jeffrey Smith
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 11
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the existing literatures’ misinterpretation of the available evidence on the predictability of high rate criminal offending and the possible value of statistical treatment rules imposing stiffer punishments on offenders with higher predicted risk of recidivism.
Abstract: It is argued that researchers must first undo the existing sentencing regime in order to allow a meaningful analysis of the potential of risk assessment based on observable characteristics and the associated use of statistical treatment rules in sentencing. The largely unrecognized conceptual difficulties with the current risk assessment literature imply that there is a need to start at the beginning in order to assess the potential benefits of a statistical sentencing policy. It is seen as time to abandon old conceptual frameworks and begin work on research which pays explicit attention to the current treatment regime. This will allow those to directly inform current policy and make valid inferences about the predictability of high risk behavior. Over several decades, criminologists have devoted their efforts to the problem of identifying high-rate offenders. These efforts have focused primarily on criminal history records as predictors of future behavior. These efforts to identify high-risk offenders are viewed as ineffective. This paper illustrates the fundamental problem with identifying high rate offenders so as to subject them to harsher punishments via a statistical treatment rule. References
Main Term(s): Selective incapacitation
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Deterrence effectiveness; Incapacitation theory; Incarceration; Punishment; Recidivism; Sentencing reform; Sentencing/Sanctions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.