skip navigation

Justinfo Subscribe to Stay Informed

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


NCJRS Abstract


Subscribe to Stay Informed
Want to be in the know? JUSTINFO is a biweekly e-newsletter containing information about new publications, events, training, funding opportunities, and Web-based resources available from the NCJRS Federal sponsors. Sign up to get JUSTINFO in your inbox.

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

How to Obtain Documents
NCJ Number: NCJ 192517   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
Title: Impact of Determinate Sentencing Laws on Delay, Trial Rates, and Plea Rates in Seven States, October 2000
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): Thomas B. Marvell ; Carlisle E. Moody
Date Published: 10/2000
Page Count: 103
  Annotation: This study tested the impact of determinate sentencing laws on court delay, number of trials, and plea rates in seven States.
Abstract: Determinate sentencing, one of the most important sentencing innovations in recent decades, is based on the rationale that imprisonment does not rehabilitate inmates and that parole board decisions are often arbitrary and not based on the rehabilitation of the prisoner. Determinate sentencing emphasizes other goals for imprisonment, such as deterrence, incapacitation, and “just deserts” punishment. The impacts on court delay and the number of trials held have long been major concerns for those studying sentencing. Research exists concerning the impact of determinate sentencing on decisions to go to trial or to plea guilty, but a lesser amount of theory and research exists concerning court delay. This research used the multiple time series design. The seven States were California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. Results showed that there was strong evidence that determinate sentencing laws increased court delay. It took some time for the impact to occur but the impact was clear and substantial. There was evidence of such impacts in California, Connecticut, New Mexico, and North Carolina. The laws were generally followed by declines in jury trial rates. The largest immediate impact occurred in Virginia. Large gradual impacts occurred in California and North Carolina, as well as Virginia. It appeared that the law caused jury trials to increase in Washington. This impact was limited to jury trials. When the dependent variable was all trials, nonjury as well as jury, there was little evidence that the laws increased or reduced trials. The decline in jury trials was not due to a corresponding increase in guilty pleas. The laws were actually associated with fewer guilty pleas. 20 tables, 33 references
Main Term(s): Determinate Sentencing ; Court research
Index Term(s): Plea negotiations ; Court delays ; Continuance ; Court case flow management ; Court case flow ; Case processing ; Trial length
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 98-CE-VX-0017
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Research Paper
Country: United States of America
Language: English
  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 web site is provided.